We encourage Minnesotans across the state to pass the following reasonable resolution at their caucuses.
-- Minnesota’s natural heritage requires protection of the Lake Superior Watershed, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and other treasured forest and wetland habitats in Northern Minnesota;
-- Tens of thousands of Minnesotans’ existing and future jobs are dependent upon preserving Minnesota’s heritage of clean air, water and lands;
-- The history of sulfide mining is one of environmental disaster, and there is no evidence that mining for copper, nickel, and other non-ferrous (non-iron) metals from
sulfide rock in Northern Minnesota can be done without harming Minnesota's fresh water resources, fish, plants, wildlife and human health,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that no sulfide mines shall be permitted if they threaten Minnesota’s water resources and natural heritage.
Here's more info related to the resolution:
Why do we need to protect Minnesota’s natural heritage resources from sulfide mining?
Minnesota has a unique opportunity to prevent the permanent, toxic damage to our unique natural heritage that has occurred EVERYWHERE ELSE sulfide metal mining has been done. Our Lake Superior Watershed, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, wild rice, healthy fish and clean water are at risk from sulfide mining. There is no example in the world where sulfide mining has been done in a water-intense area without leaving a legacy of acidic and toxic water pollution and never ending clean-up costs for taxpayers.
What about the economy?
Sulfide mining threatens tens of thousands of Minnesota jobs dependent on clean water, healthy fish, and natural heritage. New sulfide mining would add relatively few jobs to the job market, as mines have become highly automated. Mining is proposed by huge global companies that will export raw products and profits out of the country without any plans for value-added local industries (producing finished products).
Don’t we need new copper and other metals?
Copper and other metals are important to the modern economy. But less that 10% of copper uses require virgin mined metal. Copper is one of the easiest metals to recycle. Currently, the U.S. only recycles about half of its copper scrap, while exporting the remainder, which is mostly post-consumer scrap. Recycling copper saves up to 90% of the energy used by mining and processing virgin ore.
How is sulfide mining different from iron mining that has been done in Minnesota for decades?
Unlike most iron ore, the rock from which copper is mined has high levels of sulfide. Once the small fraction of metals is extracted, mountains of waste rock are left in stockpiles that create sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water, which leaches toxic metals into streams, rivers, lakes and drinking water.