Panel Discussion Talks Mining

By KBJR News 1

April 9, 2013 Updated Apr 10, 2013 at 11:39 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - From copper and nickel to iron ore, the Northland has a strong past, present and future in the mining industry, but not without ethical and legal concerns.

It's the constant battle between preserving the environment and creating jobs and economic development.

The panel discussion at UMD on Tuesday, was designed to bring together people on both sides of the issues.

Representatives from Twin Metals, the DNR, the Natural resources Research Institute at UMD and Friends of the Boundry Waters Wilderness were among the panelists.

The TwinMedals Vice President of Public Affairs cited benefits to the economy such as the creation of 17,000 jobs from the construction point to operation.

On the other side, a representative with the boundary waters group said sulfuric mining is new to the state and has had consequences to the environment elsewhere.

However, through research, there is evidence that it is possible to preserve the environment and have a mine.

"When you do what the industry is saying while maintaining things like what we have to have for wild rice...preserve the culture for growing wild rice not hurting the plants, etc. and based on what I saw with the Flambau mine over there, the answer is probably yes," said Donald Fosnacht, Director with the Center for Applied REsearch and Technology Development.

"The record of these kinds of mines, the pollution, the financial cost that tax payers are left with because this can be pollution that lasts literally forever...impossible to clean up, is this really what we want to bring to the boundary waters?" said Betsy Daub, Policy Director with Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness.

The DNR Commissioner also explained their role in mining which is to promote and regulate the industry.

Minnesota houses the third largest copper–nickel reserves in the world and has 99% of nickel in the United States.

The discussion was hosted by UMD's Center of Ethics and Public Policy department.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.