New report: Job creation potential of Minnesota sulfide mining proposals is uncertain

An examination of mines similar to those proposed in northern Minnesota reveals the projects rarely create the positive economic impacts the companies promise. Instead, such projects often cause unstable workforces and depress the overall employment landscape where they are located, and the number of jobs created do not often match predictions.

A new report from the Mining Truth coalition provides case studies of mines in Arizona and elsewhere (download the report as a PDF at this link). Citing Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics numbers and other independent studies, the report describes how opening new mines can cause economic pain.

“Sulfide mine proposals in northern Minnesota would seriously risk polluting our lakes and rivers, but the promised economic benefits are also unreliable,” said Betsy Daub, of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, a Mining Truth partner. “Mines like these around the country have not lived up to their promises, and have actually caused negative impacts on local economies and job markets.”

Key findings:

  • PolyMet’s own documents reveal the company expects to hire just 25 percent of its workforce (about 90 jobs) from local communities – others will be imported from around the country and cities like Duluth.
  • The company has also already revised its job predictions down significantly from early projections – and the industry’s track record is that, once open, mines often employ far fewer people than promised.
  • At two mines in a part of Arizona which shares similar economic factors as northern Minnesota, layoffs happen frequently, causing high unemployment, slow economic growth, population declines, and other negative economic impacts.

Download the full report (PDF).