What started out as a smaller passion project to showcase all of the incredible outdoor activities at our fingertips in Northern Minnesota has evolved as we learned more about the proposed mining projects in this region and how they might threaten these outdoor activities and freshwater quality for the region/nation. Conversations with Minnesotans across the state began by discussing their favorite outdoor places, but almost inevitably would lead to a discussion of the threats these mines pose to those places. It was these conversations that made it clear that we needed to tell this story about how the sulfide-ore copper mining is threatening these irreplaceable resources.
The name of our film comes from the “7th Generation Principle” taught by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa that states that in making every decision, be it personal, governmental or corporate, we must evaluate how it will affect our descendants seven generations into the future. In this way, we all must consider the impact these mines will have in Northern Minnesota seven generations from now.
7 Generations is an informative documentary about two proposed sulfide-ore copper mining projects in Northern Minnesota. This film's goal is to inform the public about the dangers of sulfide-ore copper mining in Northern Minnesota. The metal mining industry was named by the EPA as the single largest contributor of toxic pollution in America.
Sulfide-ore copper mining has never been done before in Minnesota. While some believe that Minnesota’s long-standing mining history prepares us for this leap, 7 Generations makes clear that the differences between historic mining in Minnesota and modern sulfide-ore mining are vast and insurmountable.
Northern Minnesota has a rich history of taconite, or iron ore mining. Many of these mines have operated for decades with little impact to the surrounding waters. This is largely due to the simple process of extracting the iron ore from the surrounding rock.
However, the process in sulfide-ore copper mining is more complicated. It involves extracting sulfide-ore from the surrounding rock, which requires washing the sulfide off with water. When this sulfur mixes with water and air, it creates sulphuric acid, which can have devastating effects to human and environmental health if it were to leach into the surrounding groundwater, streams, and lakes. While some see sulfide-ore copper mining as a replacement for the now declining iron mining industry, others see it as a greater threat than it is worth.
Because the effects of sulfide-ore copper mining are far-reaching, we've spoken with dozens of people from a wide variety of backgrounds about the risks these mines pose. This includes environmental activists, Native Tribal leaders, medical doctors, biologists, chemists, mining industry professionals, and community leaders. Their stories demonstrate that the multi-faceted threat posted by sulfide-ore copper mining in Minnesota endangers the way of life of an entire region.
In order to address this issue with the respect and the thought it deserves, we need to continue holding conversations like these. We intend to interview environmental lawyers, lawmakers, and botanists, in addition to extended interviews with those we've already met with. We intend to use the funding from this Kickstarter to help finance these interviews. We intend to present their stories alongside compelling visuals of Northern Minnesota, as well as archival footage of past mines, in order to present a broad picture of the risks sulfide-ore mining poses for Northern Minnesota and the Great Lakes Region.