Huuki legislation aims to create mining jobs

Good-paying jobs could be created in the Upper Peninsula under legislation unveiled today by Rep. Matt Huuki that would allow non-hazardous byproducts from mining operations to be put to beneficial use.

House Bills 5438 and 5953, introduced by Huuki, allow companies to re-use the hundreds of tons of manufacturing byproducts that go to landfills in Michigan.  Huuki said stamp sand, a byproduct of copper mining operations in Keweenaw, Houghton, Baraga and Ontonagon counties, could be used to manufacture roofing shingles.

“Upper Peninsula families need jobs, and allowing stamp sand to be reused in a productive manner will help grow our local economies,” said Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine.  “Using stamp sand is actually a perfect fit for making shingles.  Due to the small amount of copper in the sand, the shingle has a resistance to moss and mildew growth, extending the life of the shingle.”

Manufacturing byproducts are currently being used by neighboring states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois for roadway construction, new products and soil amendment.  Ash, foundry sand, paper mill residuals and copper stamp sands could all be used for the same purposes in Michigan under the Huuki legislation.

“Although this legislation will help create jobs throughout Michigan, it specifically targets the U.P. because of our extensive mining operations,” Huuki said.  “We have plenty of stamp sand and a ready and willing work force.  It’s a win-win for our region.”

The legislation would only allow inert, non-hazardous materials to be reused.

HBs 5438 and 5953 are now under consideration by the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation.  Huuki has sent a letter to the committee chair requesting a hearing on the bills.