We need mining

New report reveals critical importance
of mining to the economy.

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When it comes to quality of life for all residents of the Duluth-Arrowhead region, high-paying jobs are key. Over the past 15 years, the region’s economy has remained stagnant, lagging in per capita income and gross domestic product per job. Improving the economic future of the region is of the utmost importance to our communities.

A recent economic impact study explores the roles of mining and tourism, two of the region’s key industries that are sometimes, unfortunately, pitted against each other. The study indicates that while tourism plays an important role, it cannot sustain the Duluth-Arrowhead region’s economy on its own. The study was the subject of several news stories. Mining and tourism, together, drive the best possible future for our communities.

Mining benefits all industries, including tourism

The region’s strong mining presence benefits a number of closely related industries that offer high-paying jobs, including rail and Great Lakes water transportation, engineering and consulting, and jobs in the mining machinery manufacturing sector.

Hundreds of millions of dollars earned through mining-related jobs are funneled into the local economy each year and generate $183 million in annual local, state and federal tax revenues – much-needed dollars that support our schools, fire and police protection, infrastructure, and other critical community services. The 5,140 high-paying jobs in the mining sector support a significant number of jobs in tourism and recreaction.

Without mining, we’d lose more than 500 tourism jobs in:


food service


travel accommodations


arts and sports


and recreation

Growth in mining will have a greater impact
than equal growth in tourism.

After years of stagnation and lagging incomes, adding good jobs to the Duluth-Arrowhead region is a critical concern.

Although it’s a smaller industry cluster with 5,140 jobs compared to tourism’s 6,400, 10 percent growth in mining would generate considerably more new jobs, higher earnings and greater tax revenue than equivalent tourism growth.

10% Cluster Growth Scenario Mining Tourism
Total jobs created 1,075 840
Jobs created in other industries 567 161
Salary average $66,300 $25,000
Tax revenue $17 million $5 million

In the Duluth-Arrowhead region, mining and tourism go hand-in-hand

The tourism economy and outdoor assets are important for the Duluth-Arrowhead region. They are part of what gives the region its unique identity and quality of life.

Along with much of the regional economy, employment growth in tourism has been stagnant, with fewer jobs today than in 2001. In comparison, tourism jobs in the five Great Lakes states have grown at roughly the same rate as the nation since 2010.

While tourism is 31 percent more concentrated in Duluth-Arrowhead than the national average, it simply does not generate enough value and high-paying jobs to sustain the region’s economy.

Mining and tourism need not compete. These industries complement one another.

Mining generates high-paying jobs and broad-based impact that creates tourism demand. Tourism and the outdoors make the region unique, making it easier for all industries, including mining, to attract high-quality talent to Duluth-Arrowhead.

Man in hard hat with mining truck / swan in pond
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