When you support MinnPost, you’re supporting the hardworking reporters in our nonprofit newsroom. What does that work look like? We asked Walker Orenstein, our environment and workforce reporter, to show us a little bit of what happened on his recent trip to Ely to report on the Twin Metals mining project.
If you value what Walker or any of our talented journalists do to help you understand the context behind the headlines, we hope you’ll be one of 150 new/renewing members who’ll donate by Sept. 20 to help us hit our summer drive goal.
And now, on to Walker.
I had not been to Ely since my public elementary took a field trip to Camp Widjiwagan. So when MinnPost sent me north this summer to meet with mining company Twin Metals Minnesota, I learned a few things about the town. One, hotels fill up fast during the Blueberry Festival. And two, even your beer might have whole blueberries in it. (OK I didn’t order it, though I was tempted.)
Most important, however, I learned from Ely residents and visitors what copper-nickel mining near the Boundary Waters could mean for the town. As you might imagine, the debate is far from settled. Chris Ellerbroek, who owns an Ely marketing and graphic design business, told me even talking about mining can be tough in the community. “It’s been a challenge to engage in conversations because people are so adamant about their positions,” he said.
Twin Metals showed me around their property — largely forest and water monitoring equipment right now — and taught me about their research to prepare a mine plan for state regulators. Afterwards, I took pictures of beautiful Birch Lake and the Kawishiwi River, which are next to the potential mine site. I also took a side trip to Hibbing for a possible collaboration with local journalists. Oh, and I saw the overlook at the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine pit, which famously provided a rush of iron ore for the World War II effort.
I’m thankful to work for a news organization that can dispatch reporters across the state. But in-depth reporting isn’t free and I need your help to keep me out chasing stories.
We need your help to make sure that Walker and our other reporters have the resources they need to deliver critical in-depth reporting. If you believe in this work, will you donate to MinnPost today?
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Thank you to the many donors who have already shown their support during our Fall Member Drive!