Essar Steel wants to preserve Hill Annex Mine State Park

Calumet’s water tower boasts of Hill Annex Mine.

Essar Steel Minnesota, which is currently building a taconite mine near Nashwauk, released a statement today stressing that, despite having mineral rights in the area, the company does not want or plan to close the Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet.

You may recall that there was a lot of speculation about this earlier in the summer, which I joined in a MPR News segment last month. Essar holds mineral rights in the park, which was founded on the premise that it would be closed if mining there were viable. Essar believes it will be mining in other areas.

Essar project manager Kevin Kangas told me this:

Despite speculation by some, Essar does not believe the park should be closed.  Essar has always looked at the Hill Annex State Park as an opportunity to show the history and future of mining at a single location.  We think the park should be improved and Essar is interested in exploring the possibility of being helpful to that cause.

Kangas elaborated on this position in a letter to County Commissioner Leo Trunt of the Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board, found below the jump.


July 22, 2013

Mr. Leo Trunt
Western Mesabi Mine Planning Board P.O. Box 166
Bovey, MN 55709

Dear Mr. Trunt:

We appreciate receiving your July 3rd letter regarding the Hill Annex State Park. We fully agree that the Hill Annex State Park is a unique and significant part of Minnesota’s Mesabi Range and the local community. As we’ve previously expressed to members of the WMMPB, Essar is interested in exploring the possibility of helping to make improvements to the park that would draw more interest and increase visits from the local community and tourists. Despite having a neighboring mining operation, Essar is interested in helping to preserve the rich history of mining that already exists in the park and providing park visitors an opportunity to learn about, and see, the new era in iron mining Essar is creating nearby.

We have been in contact with representatives of the DNR but have not had any formal meetings with DNR Parks and Trails. We are interested in meeting with the WMMPB, DNR and all interested stakeholders to further discuss funding needs to maintain and improve the State Park and to identify ways Essar can be supportive.

Please direct any questions to me at (218) 341-5933. Sincerely,

Mr. Kevin W. Kangas
Director, HSE and Government Affairs
Cc: Jack Swanson – Essar
Doug Learmont – WMMPB Coordinator

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