Empire Mine backers pitch future project to Cliffs

Workers and local leaders in Northern Michigan want Cleveland-Cliffs to locate its next value-added iron plant in the U.P. rather than here on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. A community group in Marquette began organizing efforts to woo the mining company to its historic home in Michigan. This brings another twist to the ongoing saga over what… Read More →

Just nine miles remain on ‘Cross-Range Expressway’

I’ve told this story before, but my grandfather served on the Keewatin City Council in the 1960s. One of the most important pieces of city business at the time was largely out of his control. The state of Minnesota decided to rebuild Highway 169 as a four-lane highway, bypassing the city of Keewatin and many… Read More →

Who eats whom in Nashwauk mine showdown?

There’s an old trope you see in a lot of cartoons and movies. Someone is running through a jungle or forest, pursued by some fearsome beast. Only at some point an even more fearsome beast leaps from the shadows to snatch and devour the previous monster. And just as THAT creature takes off after our… Read More →

West Side Story: the high stakes Mesabi mining show

A proposed new mine near the western Mesabi Iron Range town of Nashwauk has proven to be a challenge to explain. Every time I go to write one piece, something new pops up, changing the story. I don’t even know what to call it. This thing is a folk story now. So let’s start from… Read More →

Iron innovation most vital mining challenge for Mesabi Range

I know, there’s plenty we could talk about regarding controversial copper-nickel mining projects in Northern Minnesota. PolyMet has a draft permit to mine. Ely’s Twin Metals got a symbolic boost from the Trump Administration. Persistent and largely meaningless slap fights between mining advocates and skeptics color the pages of the local press. But the truth… Read More →

Land deal gives Cliffs edge on Nashwauk mine

Earlier this month, Cleveland Cliffs announced that it acquired land associated with the former Essar Steel Minnesota mine project in Nashwauk. At the time, I and others wondered how significant this news would be. Well, the Mesabi Daily News reports that an anonymous source says Cliffs now controls a critical part of the project, including… Read More →

Ben DeNucci elected to Itasca County board

Voters elected Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci as the next District 5 Itasca County Commissioner in a special election held today, Tuesday, Dec. 12. DeNucci carried 959 votes, or 58 percent, while his opponent  Lawrence Township Supervisor Casey Venema carried 691 voters, or  just shy of 42 percent. This according to a late night press release… Read More →

Cleveland-Cliffs noses in with Nashwauk land buy

Earlier this year, Cleveland-Cliffs lost its bid to acquire the former Essar Steel Minnesota project in the Mesabi Iron Range town of Nashwauk, Minnesota to Chippewa Capital Partners. However, Business North reports that Cliffs is back on the scene today after buying land and mineral rights previously attached to that project. From that story: The… Read More →

Itasca County special election coasts to Dec. 12

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, voters will finally cast their ballots in the Itasca County District 5 commissioner special election called more than half a year ago. The seat opened with the resignation of Commissioner Mark Mandich on June 21. County officials scheduled a special election an insane six months later, with a primary in October…. Read More →

Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →