Resolutions to recognize Michigan mining approved by Senate

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LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Tom Casperson introduced two resolutions this week to recognize the importance of mining in Michigan.

Senate Resolution 27 declares September 6 as “Michigan Mining Day” and will celebrate and support responsible mining operations and their economic benefits throughout Michigan.

Casperson, R-Escanaba, indicated that he settled on September 6 to commemorate mining since it was instrumental in the setting of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and became a way of life dating back more than a century in the U.P., which is designated by a single area code that is the numerical equivalent to the date: 9-06.

Additionally, SR 28, a companion resolution, brings support for renewed growth of Michigan’s longstanding mining industry.

Citing many economic benefits for Michiganders, Casperson said, “U.P. mining continues to provide Michigan with many economic opportunities. U.P. communities — and the state as a whole — will benefit now and for decades to come from the investment and stewardship of our current set of mining interests.”

He noted that Michigan has arguably among the most stringent environmental protection standards in the U.S. Michigan updated its mining laws in 2004 under legislation sponsored by Casperson, which was unanimously passed by the Legislature.

“We appreciate the work new mining companies are doing to provide high-paying jobs to Upper Peninsula residents and diversify our economy, and we will work to remove any remaining barriers that could inhibit the continued growth of responsible mining interests in Michigan,” Casperson said.

The Senate Natural Resources Committee took testimony Thursday on the resolutions, including:
• Troy Henderson, a historian with the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee;
• Matt Johnson and Kristen Mariuzza with Lundin Mining-owned Eagle Mine, a nickel and copper mine that started production in late 2014; and
• Carlos Bertoni and Dave Anderson of Highland Copper, a project proposed for the Western U.P.

“We’re proud of the accomplishments of Eagle Mine that have defined modern mining and best practices that are being recognized locally and at national, international and industry levels,” said Eagle Mine External Affairs Manager Matt Johnson. “Government and industry leaders are touring Eagle regularly to learn how we’re doing things. We’ve begun a new era of mining prosperity in the U.P. that leaves many of the historic impacts in the past. We need to continue to make Michigan attractive to additional mining development.”

The full Senate voted in support of the resolutions Thursday with no objections.