Mining Jobs Tour
Posted at: 10/03/2012 4:43 PM
| Updated at: 10/03/2012 8:20 PM
Mining and innovation were the focus of Governor Mark Dayton's "Working for Minnesota Jobs" tour stop on the Range on Wednesday.
He first toured the Magnetation plant in Taconite, where old iron ore tailings are turned into usable concentrate.
Then he held a roundable discussion at UMD's NRRI Coleraine Minerals Research Lab.
It was an informal event, where the governor and the stakeholders were able to have casual conversations back and forth about the ideas that were shared.
Magnetation mentioned that one thing that helped them was the JOBZ program, and that having access to capital when a business is starting up is crucial. Dayton responded and said that he would like to see that program continue, with a focus on manufacturing.
Essar Steel Minnesota leaders said that they have had success with permitting. But they are concerned that many long-time regulators are retiring, and that it might not work as smoothly in the future.
Governor Dayton said that it's an internal responsibility of the agencies to make sure that the new people are incorporated and deadlines and timelines are still met.
He also told the room that leaders from the permitting agencies are going to be on the Range for the next two days, meeting at project sites.
Leaders from the NRRI also sat down with the group, and spoke about research they are doing on technology to make the industry more competitive. There is also work on environmental upgrades and issues, like the sulfate standard that's being studeed by the state.
The mining vendor Joy Global was also at table, and mentioned they are pleased with the workforce development at the colleges.
And last, but not least, was the higher education part of the conversation. Dr. Sue Collins, of the Northeast Higher Education District, said that they have had big success with the Iron Range Engineering program. And they're looking at doing a four year mining degree on the Range, with help from the U of MN. Collins urged Dayton to continue his support for funding for higher education.
This was Dayton's second stop on his jobs tour.