It’s understandable why the mayor of Hoyt Lakes feels obligated to advocate for international mining companies that hold the carrot on the stick of future mining jobs that could benefit his and other Range communities. But what he avoided acknowledging in his Sept. 6 commentary in the News Tribune (Mayor's Response: “Gov. Walz, state need to stay the course on PolyMet”) is that the extracted copper, nickel, and cobalt he asserts are so needed for our future “green” economy would go to China for processing before being resold to the U.S. and other world markets.
So, foreign companies would extract Minnesota mineral wealth, sell it to a foreign nation that adds value in processing, and then resell it for manufacturing use. Minnesotans do get the compensation of labor and infrastructure investment in the extraction process, but the majority of the wealth is likely to be recouped outside this state.
Meanwhile, the threat to clean water is borne by Minnesotans and Minnesotans alone. The claim that PolyMet will leave Minnesota water cleaner than it found it has not been adequately proven by PolyMet or any other sulfide mining company. Before Minnesotans swallow PolyMet’s and Twin Metals’ promises, it would be good for these companies to “prove it” at one of their existing mines somewhere around the world. Then the argument for support of their mining projects here might be supported by a majority of Minnesotans — and not just the minority for whom the mayor of Hoyt Lakes apparently sees himself as an advocate.
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