By: Chris Salgot
Historically, mining has been a crucial part of the UP economy. Without mining, today's economy would look very different in the areas of education, healthcare, etc. The land and climate are not very suitable for agriculture because of the long harsh winters. So when the UP had its first settlers, they most likely relied on logging, mining, and tourism (because of the beautiful beaches and terrain) for survival and eventually, to build capital and use the Upper Peninsula’s many break-in-transport’s as a spot for trading. Early settlers likely had to rely heavily on trade to get food/agriculture that they could not grow like wheat. So without mining, early settlers might not have had enough natural resources to provide sustainable living. Mining has shaped and affected the UP economy both directly and indirectly. Mining brings employment, government revenues, and opportunities for economic growth. Mining produces minerals that people put a high value on, and like #9 on the ‘Twelve Key Elements of Economics’, producing goods and services that people value, not just jobs, provides the source of high living standards here in the UP. Living standards cannot increase without an increase in the availability of goods and services that people value. The UP might see an increase in the amount of mining in the immediate future because of a severance tax policy just signed a month ago by Governor Snyder that is going to help new mining operations as the bill says that they will no longer pay taxes until they start extracting minerals. Also, the new law places a tax of 2.75% on minerals like copper and nickel that will be collected by local units of government with 65% of the revenue for counties, townships, and school districts. 35% will go to rural development to support long-term economic development. So to this day, there is evidence that mining always has been and still is improving our economy.