LANSING — The Michigan Senate voted unanimously to approve House Bill 4227 this week, moving it one step closer to becoming law. Introduced by state Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette) in February, the bill would create the Committee on Michigan’s Mining Future, which would be responsible for making advisory legislative and policy recommendations to strengthen and develop sustainable mining practices in Michigan. The bill now heads to Gov. Whitmer for final approval following a final House vote.

“I’m grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers for their near-unanimous support for my mining bill,” said Cambensy. “This committee will serve the needs of the capital-intensive mining industry, which currently suffers from a lack of coordination and long-term planning among its many public and private stakeholders.”

The unanimous approval by the Senate comes shortly after the House approved the bill with wide bipartisan support in a vote of 107-1.

“This advisory committee will be able to take a long-term view of the mining industry’s complex needs around infrastructure, energy, taxation, environmental remediation, competitiveness, permitting and more,” said Cambensy. “It will also allow emerging ideas to be vetted by experts and be assessed, cultivated and implemented through new and revised legislative policy recommendations critical to move Michigan’s economy forward. I believe this forum will help minimize conflict and uncertainty, while creating an opportunity for consensus and sound solutions on controversial issues.”

The committee will be able to explore research and advancements in mining such as Michigan Tech’s phosphorous eating bacteria and lithium ion battery recycling center, as well as applications in high-tech medical devices and other technologies. With this committee, Michigan could position itself to lead in this field by developing a direct reduced iron pellet for modern electric arc furnaces, which are necessary for recycling used steel.