Utahns View Mining Positively, Citing Economic Value and Jobs
The overall public perception of mining among Utah residents is very positive, according to a new online and telephone opinion survey conducted by the Utah Mining Association.
Nearly 90 percent of Utahns 18 and older – who say they have no connection to the mining industry – reported having a favorable view of mining. Utahns say they value mining because it delivers necessary resources, is good for the local economy, and provides good-paying jobs.
Last year Utah’s 291 mining operations directly employed 16,450 people and indirectly supported an additional 33,390 jobs statewide. The industry accounts for 4.59 percent of the state’s GDP, and Utah mining operations create over $2.9 billion worth of mineral, metal and fuel products.
The Utah Mining Association survey also reported that respondents believe mining to have a great deal of influence in their daily lives, seeing value not only in its economic impact but in the many ways that products mined in Utah are used in the products they use daily including jewelry, electronics, toys, money, plumbing fixtures and wires.
Most survey participants could only name four locally mined minerals – copper (Utah’s state mineral), coal, gold, and silver – although more than 25 different minerals are mined throughout Utah. Twenty-four of the state’s 29 counties have at least one mine. Lesser-known products mined in Utah include lead, zinc, oil shale, gilsonite, phosphate, aluminum, lime, salt, and potash.
The survey also found that, while people are aware that coal is mined in Utah and is used in power generation, only 33 percent of responders were aware that Utah coal accounts for 76 percent of our current electricity generation.
So, while Utahns are aware of and very supportive of mining operations in Utah, they are less aware of the variety of materials mined here and the scale at which some of these materials benefit them and allow for the high quality of life we all enjoy. Education and communications to improve Utahns’ connection between mining and its role in their day-to-day lives will be a key effort of UMA in 2016 and beyond – an effort strongly supported by Enefit.
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