President Biden’s Department of the Interior revoked existing federal leases for Twin Metals Minnesota to mine copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum-group elements in the Superior National Forest. These metals are needed for President Biden’s program for electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies. Electric vehicles, for instance, use twice as much copper as vehicles with internal combustion engines. Instead of producing these metals domestically, President Biden wants to be dependent on imports. Biden is choosing foreign sourced minerals, including mines that use child slave labor, over domestic mines and a union workforce that follows the best labor and environmental standards in the world in order to kowtow to environmentalists who want to ban mining in the United States. With less worldwide production of these metals and growing demand for them, their prices will skyrocket and be passed onto consumers who will eventually be forced into buying the products as auto manufacturers are planning to manufacture only electric vehicles in the future.
To reach a green energy future, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that the world needed to massively increase its production of minerals—forecasting needed growth of graphite, cobalt, nickel, copper, graphite, and lithium by between 20 and 40 times by 2040. As the IEA explains, “In climate-driven scenarios, mineral demand for use in EVs and battery storage is a major force, growing at least thirty times to 2040. Lithium sees the fastest growth, with demand growing by over 40 times in the SDS [Sustainable Development Scenario] by 2040, followed by graphite, cobalt and nickel (around 20-25 times). The expansion of electricity networks means that copper demand for power lines more than doubles over the same period.”
Twin Metals Tax Revenues and Jobs
Mining projects bring new investments as well as millions of dollars in tax revenues and create thousands of jobs. Since 2010, Twin Metals Minnesota has invested more than $450 million into the Minnesota economy. The Twin Metals project, once operational, would directly employ 750 people long-term. Furthermore, approximately two spinoff jobs are created in other industries for each mining job. These spinoff jobs stabilize communities by providing new employment opportunities in manufacturing, retail, restaurants and green energy. The Twin Metals Minnesota project will generate more than 1,500 indirect and induced jobs in goods and services and other sectors.
In December 2016, the Obama administration declined to renew the two leases for Twin Metals, after a legal opinion from the Department of Interior held that Twin Metals did not have an automatic right to renew those leases, which date back to 1966. But the following year, the Trump administration indicated that the government did not have the power to deny Twin Metals its leases. The Bureau of Land Management subsequently reinstated the leases and then renewed them for an additional ten years. With those leases, Twin Metals formally proposed its mining plans in 2019, which began a multi-year environmental review and permitting process by state and federal regulators. But Wednesday, a new legal opinion was released that overturns the Trump administration’s actions. Twin Metals is expected to challenge the opinion and defend its existing mineral rights.
The Twin Metals project would create hundreds of high-paying jobs, contribute billions of dollars to the regional economy and provide important metals that are needed to build wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries and other technologies critical to a green economy that President Biden insists on pushing on the American people despite its cost and dependence on imports. Rather than ensuring the United States has the supply chain needed for his green economy, Biden is pushing forward haphazardly to undermine jobs and increase prices for Americans while using taxpayer funds to pay for tax credits for his favorite projects, such as electric vehicles. He already destroyed jobs in the oil and gas industry and now he is destroying them in mining. President Biden has an opportunity to strengthen U.S. industry and instead he is working to further cement China’s dominant position in minerals processing.