We don’t need to buy Greenland for mineral resources; we have plenty of mineral resources to develop right here in northern Minnesota.
Minnesota is the largest producer in the United States of the ferrous minerals in iron ore and taconite, which provides jobs and revenue in northern Minnesota and accounts for almost a third of the Gross Regional Product. In addition to iron ore, northern Minnesota has one of the world’s largest copper deposits and the world’s third-largest nickel deposit. These deposits include platinum, palladium, gold, and cobalt. There are also manganese and titanium deposits located in northern Minnesota.
All these mineral resources are adjacent to existing Iron Range mines that have the existing transportation and infrastructure for the development of these sources, including power, rail systems, and port facilities for shipping. The region also has the workforce for mining.
Other potential mineral resources in northern Minnesota include gold, diamonds, zinc, and lead. We don’t need to go to Greenland to mine in areas where there are extreme weather and transportation challenges; we can do it right here and support our local economy and generate tax revenue for Minnesota.
We have higher environmental standards here than most of the world. Why throw our environmental obligations onto third-world countries for them to address? We are the ones using those mineral resources and should take responsibility for the responsible environmental development of those resources. Copper we use for our wind turbines and electrical wiring, nickel for stainless steel, platinum and palladium for catalytic converters, and lead and lithium for our batteries. Rare earth minerals are used for our cell phones, computers, and TV monitors.
Where do we get those resources currently? We get most of our strategic minerals from other countries. Our environmental and engineering standards far exceed those in the third world. Dam-design standards are better in our country. Safe dam-design standards placed on mining companies in Minnesota far exceed standards in third-world countries for stability, safety factors, and emergency design control measures.
And now Twin Metals has proposed dry-stacking its tailings, which can eliminate the need for measures that regulate dams.
Mining copper-sulfide resources has been successfully demonstrated in Wisconsin and Michigan, and modern mining techniques have been used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation on highway projects. The reclamation and management of sulfide-bearing rock formations have proven successful.
We need to develop our own minerals in Minnesota under our existing federal and state regulations and under our strict environmental review, as responsible environmental stewards. In doing so, the economic benefits of jobs and revenue can be realized right here in the Northland.
Karl Everett of Duluth is a professional engineer, geologist, environmental health and safety consultant, and vice president of the Mesabi Range Geological Society.