ELY, MN — With the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, Twin Metals Minnesota and the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council are now in a labor agreement.
“This is huge for the area. This puts people to work,” said Mike Syversrud, president of the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council.
The project’s construction phase is expected to create several million labor hours.
Twin Metals Minnesota CEO Kelly Osborne said the union partnership will ensure things get done safely and responsibly.
“We’re committed to doing this thing right. We’re not gonna take shortcuts. We’re going to do things right.”
While people were there to celebrate the labor agreement, it wasn’t lost on anyone that the project has a long road ahead. Nonetheless, support was expressed from lawmakers at the local level, including Ely Mayor Chuck Novak.
“Those that are fighting this saying ‘mining is boom or bust, boom or bust,’ that hundred-year boom was a good time for Ely. I’d like to get another one of them up here.”
The support for the project also included Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni.
“We are here today to say let’s go forward with all of the due diligence we have to do.”
U.S. Congressman Pete Stauber, who represents Minnesota’s 8th District was also in attendance Wednesday. He said the United States needs these minerals and he would rather mine them safely here, than somewhere else.
”These are good-paying jobs and they’re going to be for generations. Not just 10, 12 years, generations.”
There’s a caveat though, Twin Metals has yet to submit a Mine Plan of Operation.
Osbourne told the crowd of about 70 people Wednesday, that they are preparing for the environmental review and they plan on mining in Minnesota.
“For Twin Metals we are committed to this project, we’ve committed a lot of time, a lot of resources to this project and we aren’t going anywhere – we want to build this mine. We want to be an economic cornerstone for northeastern Minnesota and that’s why we’re here.”
All of this is dependent on Twin Metals receiving required permits from regulatory agencies. The company is sticking with its deadline for submitting the Mine Plan of Operation by the end of 2019.