Frank Ongaro is the executive director of MiningMinnesota.
Minnesota’s business climate received a significant boost recently when two of the state’s proposed copper, nickel and precious metals mining projects secured more than $50 million in long-term financing. Investors throughout the world are recognizing that the strategic metals deposits found in Northeastern Minnesota represent a world-class economic opportunity for our state.
PolyMet Mining, the developer of the Northmet Project near Hoyt Lakes, received a $20 million bridge loan from Glencore International PLC, based in Switzerland, to pay for operations while a $60 million stock offering is completed. Duluth Metals, the majority partner in the development of the Twin Metals Project
in the Babbitt/Ely area, received a $30 million investment from CEF (Capital Markets) Limited, a subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd.
These investments provide more than important capital; they provide independent validation of the quality of the projects proposed. Smart investors will invest only in projects that are likely to succeed, and that means projects that will meet and exceed all state and federal environmental standards and regulations.
Of course, anti-mining organizations have predictably reacted with horror that “foreign investors” and “multinational corporations” would invest in Minnesota projects that will bring jobs, tax and royalty revenue, and economic development to our state.
Lost in their unfounded attacks is the reality of how important international investment is to Minnesota’s economy, and the extensive effort Minnesota has put forth for decades to attract foreign investment and secure trading partners from Canada to China, Germany to Japan and beyond.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, foreign-controlled companies employ nearly 90,000 Minnesota workers, and foreign investment in Minnesota is responsible for nearly 4 percent of the state’s total private-industry employment.
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