Opinion: Montana union miners supply America | Chroniclers
ED LORASH and FRANK SZOLLOSI
Building a stronger, more resilient nation in the aftermath of COVID-19 means transforming the economy, modernizing the infrastructure that connects the country, and better protecting the natural resources essential to prosperity.
While all Americans share the responsibility for forging that brighter future, Montana’s skilled and environmentally conscious union miners have a historic opportunity to lead the way.
About 1,600 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 11-0001 in Sibanye-Stillwater take great pride in the responsible mining of metals needed for clean energy production, electronic components, building construction and to many other industries.
Vital as these workers already are, the nation will depend more than ever on them when the president’s infrastructure program – America’s Jobs Plan – unleashes unprecedented investments in roads and bridges as well as in schools, airports, water supply systems, railways and public transport, renewable energy and broadband networks.
For example, miners will experience an increased demand for platinum, a key ingredient in glass used in electronics and construction. The country will also need copper for wiring and nickel for the stainless steel that forms the backbone of bridges, roofs, construction equipment and rail cars.
And as the nation strives to grow its own economy, it will need more raw materials that go into wind turbines and solar panels as well as fuel cells that help power electric vehicles.