A century ago, Arizona officially became the 48th state in the United States. Over the past 100 years, mining has continuously contributed to Arizona’s development, economic growth and job creation through our state’s rich minerals resources. Today, hard rock mining remains a vibrant part of many Arizona communities, contributes to nearly 50,000 jobs in the state and billions of dollars in economic benefits.
At the Arizona Mining Association (AMA), we want to see a strong mining industry continue to produce jobs and economic benefits for Arizona as it has done for over a century. This is why our association promotes sound public policy at all levels of government, supports the sustainability of a safe and responsible mining industry and works to educate the public about the benefits of mining.
Over the past year, the AMA has been active in fulfilling its mission through actively working with our state’s elected officials and regulatory agencies to promote laws and regulations that help the mining industry operate more efficiently while ensuring the property oversight from the state agencies. We strive to ensure key thought leaders and decision-makers have fact-based and supportive information on issues affecting the Arizona mining industry. We also present at public hearings or forums to provide information on the benefits of mining.
One of the many benefits our industry provides is our economic impact. According to the L. William Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University, Arizona’s mining industry had a $4.6 billion impact on Arizona's economy in 2011, with $4.3 billion of that coming from copper mining. Copper continues to lead the way; last year 68% of U.S. copper production came from Arizona mines. On jobs, the Institute reported that the state’s mining industry contributed to more than 55,000 jobs in Arizona, with mining companies directly employing roughly 11,300 workers.
Supporting the strength of Arizona’s mining industry, the 2011 Seidman Research Institute recently compiled data and compared annual mining wages vs. all industries by state. In Arizona, the average 2011 labor income of mining company employees is $108,000 per worker. The average labor income of all Arizona workers is $47,000. And a recent report by Bloomberg reported that recent graduates from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are earning more than Harvard graduates, which bodes well for states like Arizona that have a thriving mining industry and that depend on the next generation of workers knowledgeable of the industry.
Sound public policies, a safe and responsible mining industry, high paying jobs, and tens of thousands of workers in or supporting the industry – all while producing metals that drive our economy and support today’s standard of living. This is a recipe for success that we work toward each day and ultimately will benefit all Arizonans.
Chairman, Arizona Mining Association