Once again, the mining industry showed its true colours. This time it’s Cleveland-Cliffs, which has decided to lay off hundreds of workers because it feels it’s paying too much (“Cliffs to idle Northshore Mining as fight over royalties intensifies, scrap decreases need of pellets”, February 11).
Cleveland-Cliffs pays royalties on what it operates instead of taxes. Taxes support our schools; provide for our police services; and maintain our roads, water systems and more.
Mining companies have shown from the start that they are indifferent to their workers and our communities and are only focused on their profits. Last year, the company made a profit of $3 billion on revenue of $20.4 billion, which its chief executive called “an absolute success.” Although the company takes ore from our soil and reaps handsome profits, it will not share its success adequately with the workers or the community that supports it.
Time and again, the Iron Range has been advised to diversify its economy and preserve its natural beauty rather than continuing to depend on outside mining companies that are strictly in the business of mining. In 2018, a Harvard University study recommended precisely this, but was ignored.
In the same year, we recommended that the state government move some of its operations and employees to the iron chain and use this as an opportunity to attract other business ventures.
Frankly, it’s still worth pursuing. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, for example, has more than 3,000 employees, mostly in the Twin Cities area, which is a considerable distance from the activities they oversee, such as hunting, fishing, and conservation. the natural habitat. In addition, the relocation of MNR employment would serve as a catalyst to attract a host of complementary growth to stimulate local economies. The iron chain needs and deserves much broader and deeper diversification to sustain a more sustainable and vibrant future.
Additionally, this partial dispersal of state employees would provide our government with a broader perspective when developing public policy and help ease the tensions between the Twin Cities and the non-Twin Cities that currently exist.
One thing is certain, and that is that the future of this region is not with the Cleveland-Cliffs, Glencores and PolyMets of the world, but rather in the preservation of Minnesota’s greatest strengths: its natural resources and its people. .
Tom Berkelman of Plymouth, Minnesota was a DFL state representative from Duluth from 1977 to 1983. Arne Carlson of Lake City, Minnesota was the 37th Governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999. Wintering in Florida, they wrote this exclusively for the News Tribune.