Former Minnesota State Rep Tommy Rukavina says without mining, there is no Range. I’m sensitive to that sentiment — I grew up on the Range and love the place. But it takes more than mining for mining’s sake to make sure Range communities thrive and benefit. We already know and see that.
I met a man at the Hibbing Memorial Society this week who says the mines used to be owned by people living and invested in the town. Now, he says, the mines are absentee owned and managed, and his community is suffering.
And today, in an op-ed piece regarding proposals for copper/sulfide mining (a new and more dangerous process), Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto smartly asks, at what cost? Her op-ed reflects a fundamental reality that Tommy’s statement doesn’t — mining won’t necessarily benefit the Range. And of course, it could make things worse.
My belief is that we’d have a better chance of assessing the prospects for Rangers of mining projects if we required that the owners were again themselves Rangers. Not foreign investors answering to foreign markets. Seems like the kind of thing the proud people of Minnesota could get on board with.