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Reader's View: Region ready, excited for copper mining

Congratulations and appreciation are due to everyone at PolyMet who worked tirelessly for more than a decade to secure the necessary permits to mine for the NorthMet Project. Obtaining the permit to mine and additional permits from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was no small task. The PolyMet team deserves recognition for its ambition to mine responsibly and stimulate our economy with this important project ("PolyMet copper mine clears major hurdle with state permits," Nov. 2).

While there are still more permits required before construction can begin, the excitement is high. In the coming years, folks from across the Iron Range will gain high-quality, high-paying jobs in many sectors, not just mining.

Recent economic research presented at the Regional Economic Indicators Forum on Oct. 31 examined the factors affecting the gross regional product, or GRP, in Duluth. According to the University of Minnesota Duluth research, Duluth's GRP increased by nearly 10 percent between 2015 and 2017. Much of the growth was driven by increased activity in the mining industry, which doubled its contributions to GRP during the time frame.

Active mines clearly stimulate the entire regional and statewide economy. The NorthMet Project alone is expected to contribute an estimated $500 million in annual economic benefit to Minnesota. We need this lift for our schools, shared infrastructure, and workforce. Many workers are currently sitting on the sidelines. We expect to see an uptick in the construction, professional and technical, health care, retail, hospitality, and government sectors, in addition to mining.

Northern Minnesota has been waiting a long time for this mine to open. We're ready, and we want to express our gratitude to PolyMet for its continued dedication to maintain and grow a healthy economy for the next generation.

Nikolas Bayuk

Duluth

The writer submitted this on behalf of the Better in Our Back Yard Industry Advocacy Group.

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