Minnesota Minerals Education Workshop Visits the Iron Range

Posted June 21, 2019

This week teachers from across Minnesota descended on Itasca Community College to learn more about mineral resources and potential careers in mining. The Minnesota Center for Mineral Resource Education’s (MCMRE) Minnesota Minerals Education Workshop (MMEW) had a variety of presentations from all facets and types of mining. Kelsey Johnson, President of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota (IMA), presented on the importance of iron mining in our daily lives. Other presenters included representatives from the Society of Mining and Metallurgical Exploration (SME), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Erie Mining Project.

For the past 22 years, more than 50 kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) teachers from around the state have participated in a three-day workshop to learn more about mining and the effects of mining on the regional and statewide economy. This year the workshop’s class content ranged from experiments for students to learn more about mineral resources in their everyday lives, to mining reclamation and water resources.

“The industry supports many northern Minnesota families, and it helps produce the American steel that is essential to our lifestyle,” said Johnson. “It is important that educators learn about the incredible possibilities that can come from a career in mining. The long-term success of this industry will depend on our students’ understanding of mining and how it affects the state’s economy.”

Johnson serves as the Vice Chair of Finance for the MCMRE, an organization that promotes awareness of the positive contribution that mineral resources make to Minnesota. The organization primarily achieves this goal by supporting K-12 teacher education in mineral resources.

Minnesota’s iron mining industry and public school system are closely related; every year, each K-12 student in Minnesota receives $38 from School Trust Lands. These are public lands that are managed by the DNR to support the state’s school system. A large majority of School Trust Lands revenue is generated from iron ore/taconite leasing and royalty payments.

Harvey Thorleifson of Minnesota Geological Survey is Chair of the MCMRE.

In a recent statement, Thorleifson noted, “The MCMRE Board includes representatives from a wide range of sectors, which helps MMEW take a broad approach regarding the important role that mining plays in society, and the way that the people of Minnesota work together to optimize our way of life for the future.”

The MCMRE and MMEW are completely reliant on donations for their programming. Donations cover materials, transportation, lodging for the three days on campus and meals. If you would like to donate, please contact the MCMRE on their website: www.mcmre.org.

“This event wouldn’t be possible without generous donations from a number of individuals, businesses and volunteers,” continued Johnson. “We hope to continue this program long into the future.”