Go west, young miner!

Today’s Duluth News Tribune explains a proposed new taconite plant between Coleraine and Grand Rapids. That’s right, I said Grand Rapids, the historic non-mining western edge of the Iron Range. Magnetation, a scram mining operation that’s worked along the western Mesabi iron formation, mostly near Keewatin and now Taconite, Minn., is looking ahead to its contracts and is now considering a small scale taconite operation that would employ 200 miners if built.

Magnetation is already expanding its scram mining operations into a second site. The company feeds its raw ore materials to Mesabi Nugget on the east Range and is planning to ship raw ore to Mexico on very long trains.

This comes in addition to Essar Steel Minnesota’s ongoing construction of a new taconite plant near Nashwauk that will also create a couple hundred jobs and perhaps more if the company proceeds to its original plan of a steel mill (a prospect that is not yet assured). The western Mesabi Range could well be the growth region of the Range as new technology allows for mining of hard-to-reach or hard-to-process ores. I don’t think people would have predicted that when Butler Taconite in Nashwauk closed 30 years ago.


  1. I thought you meant head to North Dakota or Wyoming, especially after Gov. Dayton decided to kill mining jobs for another 6 months.

    The Unemployment Governor strikes again.

  2. Better trolls, please.

  3. That isn’t trolling. We badly need jobs outside the Twin Cities.

  4. I haven’t been doing much with comments this week, so I’m sorry for delaying this response. First, Gary Gross is no troll. He is the worthy and spirited opposition. Welcome, sir. But thanks for having my back, CJH – in truth, I believe we are all trolls.

    On the topic, you would go to ND or Wyo to mine coal, for that is where coal is. I am referring to iron, and we mine it because it is here. Gary, you are introducing a different element entirely, the nonferrous mining and the convoluted process by which it could occur on the east Range. I believe the story you are referencing is some sort of land use issue, the governor having decided to prevent test drilling on the property of unwilling private property owners. (I could be wrong on that … I have been busy producing a radio show).

    That is not what we’re talking about here, though it’s a worthy topic that has been turned over many times elsewhere. I’ll revisit that issue at some point in the future. Thanks to all!

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