State issues mining permits to PolyMet: Now what?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued permits for PolyMet Mining on Thursday, ending one long chapter of this story and beginning another. The permits mean PolyMet is now free to mine copper, nickel and other minerals from its proposed location near the former LTV iron mine at Hoyt Lakes. But doing so is not… Read More →

Steelworkers reach tentative agreement with U.S. Steel

The United Steelworkers of America and U.S. Steel reached a tentative labor contract agreement on Monday, Oct. 15. Union leaders will now present the terms of the deal to their membership for a ratification vote. About 14,000 workers at mills and mines across America would work under this contract. Steelworkers leadership seemed pleased and optimistic… Read More →

Steelworkers ratify contract with Cleveland-Cliffs

Members of the United Steelworkers of America voted to ratify a new labor contract with Cleveland-Cliffs this week. The new deal maintains their current benefits while increasing their pay. Cliffs operates United Taconite and, until next year, contracts to operate Hibbing Taconite. Their plant at Northshore Mining is nonunion. Negotiations with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal… Read More →

Glimmers of hope in Steelworkers negotiations

Late last week, the United Steelworkers reached an agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs on a labor contract. Broadly speaking, the talks between Cliffs and the USW seemed to go well. The company acknowledged the improving state of the domestic iron ore and steel business, and shared some of the success with its workers. However, more contentious negotiations… Read More →

Crowd questions Mesabi Metallics in tense meeting

Hundreds packed the Nashwauk Township Community Center Monday night to ask questions of Gov. Mark Dayton, state officials and the CEO of Mesabi Metallics. The governor called the town hall meeting after months of local criticism. A proposal to build a new mine on the site of the long defunct Butler Taconite site once carried… Read More →

DNR confirms Zebra mussels in Pokegama Lake chain

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources confirmed Monday it found invasive zebra mussels in the Blandin Reservoir along the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids. That means that several waters connected to the reservoir now enter the infested waters designation. They include: Lake Pokegama Jay Gould Lake Little Jay Gould Lake the Mississippi River from Lake… Read More →

Governor, Mesabi Metallics to hold Nashwauk forum

On a sunny July day in 2016, Gov. Mark Dayton and a gaggle of mining officials took questions inside the Nashwauk Township Community Center about the former Butler Taconite plant just a few miles down the road. Now, just over two years later, Dayton will hold a similar event, only this production boasts a whole… Read More →

Some questions matter more in mining debate

I follow sports. I like to watch baseball and football in particular. Some of my friends are far more into sports than I am. Others don’t care about sports at all. For the first group, I sometimes fall disappointingly short in conversation. I just can’t recall the same statistics and analysis to explain why the… Read More →

Cliffs vows ore for Hibbing Taconite, plans for Nashwauk

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves still wants to mine iron ore near Nashwauk. He vows that Hibbing Taconite will always have enough ore from his company, if they need it. Further he says Northshore Mining continues to make progress with direct-reduced iron products. Finally, he predicts smooth contract negotiations between his company and the United Steelworkers…. Read More →

Essar rejoins Nashwauk project; ArcelorMittal looms large

The complex tale of an incomplete iron ore mine on the western Mesabi Iron Range took several new turns this week. Each twist reinforces a central truth. Distant, powerful corporate forces act on impulses far removed from Northern Minnesota’s hopes and dreams. Mesabi Metallics still holds state mining leases on land outside Nashwauk. This was… Read More →