Partnerships with Mines Contribute, Support Our Culture and Quality of Life

By Jaimie Niska, President
Laurentian Chamber of Commerce

Mining, for decades, has and continues to be a huge contributor to our Laurentian Chamber community.

A report issued last week by the Minnesota Department of Revenue underscored mining’s positive impact on businesses, schools, cities, townships and counties throughout northeastern Minnesota.

In 2016, mining pumped more than $106 million into local communities, according the Department of Revenue report, of which:

  • $35 million went to the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board;
  • $23 million to local school districts;
  • and $24 million to local cities, townships and counties.

However, that doesn’t account for the wages and benefits paid to the roughly 4,000 miners who produce the ore needed to make steel for our nation.

During normal operating conditions, Minnesota’s iron mines directly contribute $1.9 billion to the economy of Minnesota every year in the form of purchases, wages and benefits, taxes, and royalties. Including its impact on businesses, mining generates a total annual regional and statewide economic impact of $3 billion.

Locally, our businesses and communities are supported by the impact of mining every single day.

They feel the benefits when miners buy cars, trucks and recreational vehicles at local dealerships.

They see it when miners buy building materials at local lumber yards.

They experience it when miners and their families shop at local florists, clothing, sporting goods, auto service, home improvement, and hardware stores.

They know it when miners fill up their grocery cart and dine locally.

And, while the mining industry generated more than $106 million locally in 2016, it produces much more than the financial aspect alone.

Our mining companies (and the people that work within them) readily contribute to our communities in not-so-obvious ways, too – via schools, civic organizations, charities, volunteerism, and more.

And, when there’s a time of need, miners and mining companies are among the first to step up to help fill local food shelves, support community events, contribute to charity, and lend a hand to those in need.

On an even larger scale, the economic impact of the large industry on which our region was born, trickles down to tens of thousands of spinoff jobs in healthcare, energy, tourism, education, small business, and more…all of which make our corner of the world tick.

Businesses across the Iron Range – big and small – need each other to make our area the best it can be.

The more we invest in each other, the more opportunity we have to connect our Iron Range communities and move business forward.

The Laurentian Chamber of Commerce community is proud to be “home” to three iron ore mines, including ArcelorMittal, U.S. Steel Minnesota Ore Operations – Minntac, and United Taconite. And we look forward to being home to new copper-nickel mining operations on the east end of our communities, with the development of Polymet.

We are proud of our partnerships with area mining operations and continue to work collaboratively with the mines as we all strive to support business, arts and culture, civic, and quality of life within northeastern Minnesota.