Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sustainable mining? Minnesota? It's a start!

We had to read it twice, these paragraphs from yesterday's story in the Duluth News Tribune by John Myers:
"ERP stands for Earth Restoration Project and is a product of Clarke's transformation into an evangelist for sustainability. That transformation was hastened in Africa, where Clarke established nonprofit health-care facilities and where he saw the results of worsening droughts and famine.

"Now he's started ERP Iron Ore LLC and Chippewa Capital Partners for his two Minnesota mining operations — the former Magentation operations based in Grand Rapids and the former Essar Steel Minnesota project in Nashwauk."

After speculating for the past couple of years about the prospect of "sustainable mining" coming to Minnesota, that eagle may be starting to land. At least there's an active, major player who is familiar with the terms "And he says he wants to bring his carbon offset ideas to the iron-mining and steel-producing industries, which also are large emitters of greenhouse gases."

Miners Lake Pit, IRRRB Reclamation
Miners Lake Pit, IRRRB Reclamation
Photo by J. Harrington

Lest any of you think we've foregone our usual degree of skepticism, we continue to operate on the premise articulated by President Reagan's dictum "Trust, but verify." (Although this is also probably as close as we'll ever get to sounding like a Republican.) But we're encouraged to see that Clarke is talking integration, collaboration, partnerships and has a record of successfully using those approaches on other, similar projects. Details are in Meyers' story from the day before yesterday.

From what we've read so far, we wish Clarke the best. He, his companies, and his approach, may well represent the core of a sustainable future for mining in and around the Iron Range.

Boundary Waters

by Sheila Packa

Off the road
where lichen and thick moss
take in minerals
beneath the balsam
over the border
past the landing
in the stone face of granite
above the water's mirror
small islands where
root dives into stone
amid broken limbs
of white pine
behind the reflection of day
into dark endings
reached for my own reaching
hand in the cold water
of October—
a tail flick of a fin
among the sunken
in a vein of ore.
To take from another body
is a question
answered by loon
or by the morning rime
with weasel
searching the char of a cold fire.
After the urgent
animal of the body—
a heavy frost
and the moose that trod
over our path
running, hunted.

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