MADISON – The state’s largest business group Tuesday lauded the Joint Finance Committee for approving a compromise iron mining reform bill that is needed to encourage safe, clean iron mining in Wisconsin.
“Now that the Joint Finance Committee has approved a compromise iron mining reform bill, it is critical that the state Senate approve the legislation,” said Scott Manley, environmental policy director for WMC. WMC is the state’s largest business association.
The Joint Finance Committee modified the legislation that had already passed the Assembly.
“The amended bill is a thoughtful compromise that addresses numerous concerns heard throughout the legislative process,” Manley said. “It needs to pass quickly so we can show the world that Wisconsin is working to improve our climate for mining.”
A recent study found Wisconsin ranks among the worst places in the world to operate a mine.
The legislation is needed to encourage the mining of a large iron ore deposit in Iron County near Hurley. Construction of the mine will cost $1.5 billion over two years and create 3,175 direct and indirect jobs. Once operating, the mine will create 2,834 direct and indirect jobs, and that total could climb to 5,668 when the mine is fully operational. The average mining worker will earn $82,984 a year in wages and benefits.
“Wisconsin can protect the environment and create jobs and this bill does both,” Manley said. “It’s a win-win for Wisconsin, and the economic impact of the mine in Iron County will be felt statewide as manufacturers and other businesses provide supplies and services to the mine.”
In the United States, 99 percent of iron ore for industry are mined from the iron ranges in Minnesota and Michigan. In Minnesota, iron mining is a multi-billion dollar industry. Mine workers in Minnesota earn $81,680 annually in wages and benefits and $88,171 in Michigan.
For Further Information Contact:
Scott Manley, (608) 258-3400