14th March 2013

Support for Minnesota copper mines drops in poll – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – March 14, 2013)

posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Copper, United States Mining and History |

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Opponents of copper mining in Minnesota might be winning over more state residents, according to a new poll that shows more people oppose the new kind of mining here than support it.

Opponents of copper mining in Minnesota might be winning over more state residents, according to a new poll that shows more people oppose the new kind of mining here than support it.

The poll, paid for by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and released Wednesday, found that 48 percent of state residents polled opposed copper mining while 39 percent favor the projects.

It’s the first time in five years the poll has been taken that more people opposed than supported copper mining. The coalition of 75 environmental groups conducts the survey annually to gauge public opinions on several key conservation issues.

The results show support for mining slipping from a high of 66 percent in 2009 to 62 percent in 2010, 52 percent in 2012 and 39 percent this year. Statewide, opposition increased from 19 percent in 2009 to 48 percent this year.

The telephone poll was conducted Jan. 6-8 by the team of California-based Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates along with Alexandria, Va.-based Public Opinion Strategies. Of the people polled, 251 respondents answered the mining question. The margin of sampling error is 6.2 percentage points.

The question, which has been asked since 2008, was: “As you may know, new mines are being proposed near the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior. These are different from the traditional Minnesota iron ore mines. These new sulfide mining operations would be used to extract copper, nickel and other precious metals from underground rock formations containing sulfur. Based on this description, would you favor or oppose these new mines?”

It’s not clear what impact, if any, the poll would have on mining proposals as they advance through prospecting and regulatory stages. The issue is not expected to seriously surface during the current legislative session.

Mining supporters said they’ve seen just the opposite — growing support for the expansion into copper, nickel and other precious metals that have never been mined in the state.

“I’m not going to speak to their poll results. But everything we’ve seen as an industry, both formal and informal, shows continued strong to overwhelming support for mineral development in Minnesota,” Frank Ongaro, president of Mining Minnesota, a coalition of copper mining companies, told the News Tribune.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Duluth News Tribune website: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/261393/

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