Flat-line Economics

When a multinational mining corporation wants to move into an area, it will do a very thorough study of the local economy. Invariably the company will claim that the area in which it has located a mineral deposit is financially depressed and that a mine will provide lots of good-paying jobs and plenty of tax relief.

That is certainly what the people of Rusk County, Wisconsin were told when Kennecott appeared on the scene with plans to build the Flambeau Mine. The mine operated from 1993 to 1997, but, unfortunately, the promise of economic prosperity did not pan out.

For a summary of what happened to the Rusk County economy before, during and after the mining years, click on the following link to an article written by Barbara With of the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative:

http://wcmcoop.com/2013/01/11/flambeau-mine-a-model-mine-no-more/

As discussed by With in her article, when important economic indicators are graphed for Rusk County for the time period immediately before, during and after the mining years, the graphs are “flat-line.” In other words, it appears that the Flambeau Mine had no real effect on Rusk County’s economy. You can see for yourself by viewing the following graphs:

  1. Non-effect of the Flambeau Mine on the Percentage of Rusk County’s Total Population Living in Poverty
  2. Non-effect of the Flambeau Mine on the Percentage of Rusk County’s Children Living in Poverty
  3. Non-effect of the Flambeau Mine on Rusk County’s Annual Unemployment Rate
  4. Non-effect of the Flambeau Mine on Rusk County’s Annual Per Capita Income
  5. Non-effect of the Flambeau Mine on Rusk County’s Population Growth Rate

I also refer you to the following two reports done by: (1) rural economist Tim Tynan; and (2) an interdisciplinary team of University of Wisconsin-Madison students with assistance from Professor William Freudenburg of the University’s Department of Rural Sociology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences:

  1. “WHEN MINES ENTER MINDS: An Investigation of Ladysmith and Medford, Wisconsin and the Economic Impact of the Flambeau Mine,” Tim Tynan,  Mining Impact Coalition, 1997
  2.  “The Socioeconomic Impacts of Mining in Wisconsin,” a report written by an interdisciplinary team of eight University of Wisconsin-Madison students with assistance from Professor William Freudenburg AND presented to the Wisconsin State Legislature, Assembly Natural Resources Committee, 1995

You can also read more about the economics of the Flambeau Mine by clicking on the following links that take you to chapters from:  The Buzzards Have Landed! – The Real Story of the Flambeau Mine.

Chapter 101_The Flambeau Mine Starts Production and Kennecott Makes Off with the Gold (May 1993)

Chapter 117_How Much Money Did Kennecott Leave Behind in Taxes?

Chapter 118_The State Tries to Prop Up Rusk County’s Failing Economy by Awarding Bogus Grants (1994-1998)

Chapter 119_Did the Mine Help Rusk County’s Economy?