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Ongaro to lead nonferrous mining effort

An Iron Range native will lead an informational campaign designed to teach Minnesotans about nonferrous mining and efforts for such mining in the state.

An Iron Range native will lead an informational campaign designed to teach Minnesotans about nonferrous mining and efforts for such mining in the state.

Frank Ongaro Jr. is executive director of the MiningMinnesota campaign, the Minnesota Exploration Association announced Tuesday. The 20-year-old association represents about 25 nonferrous mining companies, consultants and fee-holders that support copper-nickel and precious metals mine development within the state.

"We are thrilled to have Frank Ongaro on board to lead our organization's MiningMinnesota initiative," association president Ernest K. Lehmann said in a news release. "As a third-generation Iron Ranger with a long and successful record of public and governmental affairs experience, Frank brings the acumen needed to work with all Minnesota communities and stakeholders to help guide a successful, sustainable nonferrous mining effort."

Ongaro previously served for six years as president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. It became known in early November that Ongaro was leaving that association to become public and governmental relations director for the Minnesota Exploration Association.

"At that time it was 'What is the effort going to be and what is it going to involve?' rather than an actual name and a title," Ongaro said Tuesday. "Now we have figured out a name and title."

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"The MiningMinnesota effort is still under the Exploration Association's umbrella, but I will be running the MiningMinnesota effort as we try to promote nonferrous mining, both in public information, governmental relations, and regulatory affairs," he said.

Ongaro began working for MiningMinnesota at the start of the month.

Ongaro, a graduate of Hibbing High School and the University of Minnesota, is a former executive director of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools. He also has been intergovernmental operations director for the city of St. Paul, deputy assistant to the state Department of Labor and Industry commissioner, and a legislative staffer during Gov. Rudy Perpich's administration.

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