Twin Metals to be saluted during festival

Up North Jobs sponsors tent to be located across from city park

by Tom Coombe
A pro-mining group will make its presence felt during Ely’s busiest weekend of the summer.
Directly across from Whiteside Park, home of Ely’s upcoming Blueberry/Art Festival, Up North Jobs will hold a three-day Twin Metals Appreciation Days celebration.
The event coincides with the festival, which starts Friday, and will include informational displays, appearances by area elected officials, and petitions to support the Twin Metals copper-nickel mining project.
“We want northeastern Minnesota residents to know how important Twin Metals has been and can be in our economic development and job growth here,” said Gerald Tyler, executive director of Up North Jobs and coordinator of the celebration.
Thousands are expected at Whiteside Park during the festival, and across the street - at the corner of Seventh Avenue East and Sheridan adjacent to Canoe Country Outfitters - Up North Jobs will set up giant 15-by-30 feet tent.
The tent will be staffed by Up North Jobs volunteers, who will have petitions that will be sent to Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who have the authority to reverse Obama Administration edicts that rejected Twin Metals’ mineral leases on federal land. The Trump appointees are also expected to weight in on a proposal that could take over 234,000 acres of Superior National Forest land out of circulation for mining development for up to 20 years.
Tyler said that maps will be on display with further information about the issues.
“Visitors can learn more about the trust lands no longer available for exploration and leases,” said Tyler.
Up North Jobs, an Ely-based nonprofit group dedicated to job growth and a fierce advocate for new mining, will solicit memberships inside the tent, which will also have a kids’ activity table.
The tent will also include a display noting more than $347,000 in contributions made by Twin Metals Minnesota to charitable causes in the Ely and Babbitt areas.
Elected officials are also set to make appearances at the tent during the course of the weekend, including State Sen. Tom Bakk, State Rep. Rob Ecklund, County Commissioner Tom Rukavina, Ely Mayor Chuck Novak, Babbitt Mayor Andrea Zupancich and Aurora Councilmember Dave Lislegard.
“Visitors from the outside can see that we’re all in this together on the Iron Range,” said Tyler.