125 years of iron ore from Hibbing’s Mahoning mine

At sunrise on Friday, July 3 workers raised a 44-star American flag at the edge of the the Hull Rust Mahoning Pit in Hibbing. The historic flag commemorated the day in 1895 when the first shovel lifted iron ore from the Mahoning Pit. “That open pit of course started with a single scoop of ore… Read More →

2020 Iron Range Fourth of July schedule battered, not beaten

As you might know, each year I enjoy sharing the schedule of Iron Range Fourth of July parades, street dances and fireworks displays. July 4 is a American holiday that holds special meaning here in the immigrant communities of northern Minnesota. This year we enter the Fourth of July holiday week with much more uncertainty… Read More →

Iron Range daily newspapers to merge

Today, the Mesabi Daily News and Hibbing Daily Tribune announced that the newspapers would merge operations beginning Wednesday, July 8. The new Mesabi Tribune will publish six days per week, making it the only remaining daily newspaper in northern Minnesota. Print publications have been reeling from lost ad revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These immediate… Read More →

Redhead Mountain Bike Park looks wild

The manufactured landscape of the Iron Range looks like nothing else. It’s a cyborg. Half natural, half unnatural. Steep cliffs made by shovels, trucks, and explosives overlook deep, clear lakes that are not lakes. They’re pits dug through generations, reclaimed by a water table that once existed underground. Nature always stands ready to reclaim what… Read More →

Even northern towns under curfew tonight after chaotic week in Minnesota

UPDATE June 1: A peaceful night passed on the Iron Range. Further review indicates that internet rumors prompted Range towns to set curfews. Efforts to organize peaceful protests in these towns became wildly misinterpreted. Original May 31: Today, peaceful demonstrations took place in towns across northern Minnesota, including Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Hibbing and Virginia. In… Read More →

Eveleth-Gilbert, Virginia voters approve school district consolidation

On Tuesday citizens in Eveleth, Gilbert and Virginia voted to approve the consolidation of two Mesabi Iron Range districts. More than 77 percent of Virginia district voters backed consolidation while almost 54 percent of Eveleth-Gilbert voters supported the move. Both districts needed to approve the measure for it to take effect. The new district will… Read More →

Minntac lays off 260 miners

Less than 24 hours after announcing that a Canadian steelmaker was buying a quarter share of Minntac, U.S. Steel announced 260 layoffs at the largest iron mine in the U.S. The layoffs provide a clearer picture of the tumultuous situation in the U.S. economy and North American steel markets. We now see that U.S. Steel… Read More →

Stelco poised to buy 25% of Minntac

During its quarterly earnings call today U.S. Steel announced that Canadian steelmaker Stelco holds the option to buy up to 25 percent of Minntac in Mountain Iron. The taconite plant is the largest in the United States and the “king” of Mesabi Iron Range mines. Stelco will pay $100 million for this option and then… Read More →

Hibbing Taconite third Iron Range mine to shut down amid economic slide

Global steel giant ArcelorMittal will idle its Hibbing Taconite plant from May 3 through July 6 amid evaporating demand for iron ore in a growing economic recession. The move will furlough 650 employees. HibTac becomes the third Mesabi Iron Range mine to announce a shutdown during prime production season due to the sudden collapse of… Read More →

UPM-Blandin to temporarily idle Grand Rapids paper mill

The UPM-Blandin paper mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, will temporarily shut down. The idle is expected to last into May. WDIO reports that union officials believe it will be at least two weeks. Like the shutdowns of nearby iron mines, this shutdown is the result of lagging demand from the general slowdown in the world… Read More →