The iron mining industry not only has significant economic impact in the areas in which the iron is mined. The effects of Minnesota’s iron mining industry can be felt far and wide – on local, regional, national and even international levels.
Existing Minnesota Iron Mining Operations
Iron mining helped contribute more than $3 billion to the state’s economy in 2010 and helped support more than 11,200 jobs.
Based on 2010 production levels, iron mining paid $152 million in state and local taxes in 2011. Of that, nearly $48 million supported local schools in the region. The University of Minnesota received nearly $16.3 million. Much of the remainder was funneled to local communities where mining takes place.
Mining is among the largest contributors to the region’s economy, accounting for 30% of the Gross Regional Product (GRP) in 2010. In comparison, the tourism industry accounted for 11% of the GRP and forestry 10%.
Each iron ore mining job, which includes good pay, health and retirement benefits, generates an additional 1.8 jobs in other industries.
Mining operations purchase goods and services from other industries, including utilities, transportation and manufacturing.
Expansions and New Projects on the Horizon
Expansion of existing iron mining operations and development of new projects under consideration have the potential to generate an additional $4.3 billion in economic impact and create 14,200 new jobs – not including construction – by 2016, if all projects move ahead as planned.
The combined economic impact of new construction could amount to more than $3.5 billion from 2012 to 2016. Construction employment would range from an estimated high of 3,000 per year to about 600 per year in the same time frame.
If all projects under consideration move forward, iron mining’s total economic contributions could amount to $7.3 billion and create more than 25,000 jobs.
Based on overall employment and broad economic impact, it’s clear that mining is extremely important to the economy of the entire state of Minnesota. Regionally, mining remains the single largest contributor to the health of northern Minnesota’s economy – today and into the future.
Iron in Your Future
Minnesota’s iron mining industry continues to evolve, both technically and environmentally. The ongoing evolution and improvements contribute to the industry’s current and future economic impact.