MINING TAKES CENTER STAGE – by Jerry Burnes (Mesabi Daily News – June 27, 2018)


DULUTH — President Trump brought his “America First” brand of politics with him to Duluth, where the iron mining industry found the friend it expected when he was elected into office a year and a half ago.

Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs have faced broad criticism from business groups over global trade war concerns, but on Minnesota’s Iron Range, are widely popular. His decision in December to reinstate mineral leases to Twin Metals Minnesota, which is prospecting an underground copper-nickel mine near Ely, drew praise from industry advocates.

Trump held a roundtable with Iron Range community and business leaders, miners and industry advocates on June 20 in Duluth and made a proclamation at the following rally that promised to throw out a federal land withdrawal, which Trump said were minerals placed “under lock and key” by the Obama administration.

“We will soon be taking the first steps to rescind the federal withdrawal in Superior the people of Minnesota — one of the great natural reserves in the world. And we’ll do it carefully. And maybe, if it doesn’t pass muster, we won’t do it at all, but it’s going to happen, I will tell you.”

Before leaving office in January 2017, President Obama ordered more than 234,000 acres of Superior National Forest be removed from potential industry activity, which included exploration, as the government studied potential environmental impacts. The withdrawal also asked for a 20-year ban on industry activity, with a two-year moratorium to conduct the study.

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