MiningMinnesota names Julie Lucas new executive director

June 16, 2022

The MiningMinnesota Board of Directors announced that Julie Lucas will be its new executive director. Lucas will begin her new role on Aug. 1, 2022, replacing outgoing executive director Frank Ongaro, who served MiningMinnesota for 15 years.

“Julie is well positioned to help MiningMinnesota expand the organization’s reach,” said LaTisha Gietzen, PolyMet Mining and President of MiningMinnesota. “She understands the mining industry, the board’s vision for MiningMinnesota’s future, and she is energized to share the story of mining’s importance to a greener and more sustainable future.”

Lucas brings vast industry and community background, knowledge and involvement to MiningMinnesota. She has served as environmental manager and water resources director for several mining and mineral development companies. Lucas also serves as a board member on various regional and community organizations, she is currently on the board of directors for the United Way of Northeast Minnesota, RAMS and the Minnesota Discovery Center. In addition, Lucas was recently elected as a Township Supervisor in French Township. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Water Resource Science from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

“Minnesota has an opportunity to lead our nation in providing the critical minerals needed for the transition to clean energy and to address climate change. Minnesota can have both mining and a clean environment, and we can be a model for the rest of the world,” said Lucas. “I look forward to this tremendous opportunity of leading the organization, its members and the industry into the future.”

Minnesota’s world-class mineral deposits contain 95 percent of the United States’ resource of nickel, and 88 percent of our domestic resource of cobalt. In addition, the World Bank Group projects we will need to mine as much copper in the next 25 years as has been mined in the last 5,000 years. Proposed projects have the potential to provide thousands of high-paying jobs and billions of dollars for funding students in Minnesota schools.

“Julie coming on as the new executive director is exciting for the future of the industry and the association,” said retiring executive director Frank Ongaro. “Her talent, knowledge and experience make Julie the perfect person to lead the trade association in its next chapter of developing this essential industry.”



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