The economics of taconite and melting ice

Last Sunday, Robin Washington at the Duluth News Tribune raised an interesting question. With melting polar ice, new shipping lanes are opening in the Arctic Circle. The Russians are capitalizing by running ore boats through the slush, cutting down massive costs.

The United States? Our trade routes this far north are questionable, but with steel industry economics working down to the penny per ton, one wonders how quickly the hot-button political issue of climate change could extend to the practical function of our local economy.

Regardless, we now usher in a pretty miserable time to be an ore boat deckhand.

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