In a study of Montana’s hardrock mining industry the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business & Economic Research (BBER) concluded that mining plays an essential role in the state economy—generating nearly $199.4 million in state and local revenues each year. These funds generated by Montana mining support schools, local infrastructure, emergency services, law enforcement, and other critical community services. The economic analysis revealed that mining in Montana currently creates:

*12,304 permanent, year-round jobs

*$86,030 per year in individual earnings

*$2.7 billion dollars of economic output annually

The study also evaluated the potential economic benefits if three proposed new mines are permitted and brought into operation. The three potential mines considered by the study are the Rock Creek, Montanore, and Black Butte Copper mines. It is anticipated that these three mining projects would generate:

* 3,531 new jobs across many industry sectors by 2025

* $450 million more each year in economic output

* $35 million in new, additional state tax revenue by 2025

“I-186 would block these proposed mines and potentially prevent future mining projects,” said Dave Galt, Executive Director of Stop I-186 to Protect Miners & Jobs. “I-186 doesn’t provide any benefit to Montanans, and the costs of passing it are steep. Montana’s water resources are already protected under existing law and I-186 will do nothing more than confuse existing statues and create unnecessary litigation. If passed, I-186 will jeopardize a critical source of state revenue and pose a significant threat to the small rural communities that depend heavily on mining.”

The Bureau of Business & Economic Research noted that mining, and the jobs it provides, has a magnified impact in small communities where the economies are less diverse. While in larger cities other industries may be able to offset job losses in one industry, the same is not true in many of Montana’s small, rural communities where production takes place. Mining tax revenue also comprises a large portion of the operating budgets for schools and critical community services, which would be adversely impacted if future mining projects were not permitted.

“As the study conducted by the Bureau of Business & Economic Research shows, the revenue generated by proposed mining projects, and the possible loss of that earning potential as a result of I-186, would have impacts far beyond just the mining industry,” said Galt. “Mining impacts all facets of our economy—from construction and retail, to education and healthcare. Vote No on I-186 to protect the future of mining, and the future of Montana.”