‘Red Ore Renaissance’ on the Iron Range

Magnetation 4

Magnetation will be opening a fourth processing plant in the Canisteo Mine formation on the western Mesabi Iron Range.

Magnetation continues to grow on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Gov. Mark Dayton named Thursday, May 22, “Red Ore Renaissance Day” in Minnesota. Last night, the company celebrated the ongoing construction of its fourth processing plant, turning piles of waste rock from early iron mining operations into quality iron concentrate for the production of steel.

Here’s the story from WDIO:

Magnetation now employs hundreds of people on the western Mesabi, and between the iron they can extract from waste rock piles and the potential of mining new ore, they vow to be around a long time. Magnetation received early public financing from the IRRRB, but unlike a lot of “proposed” projects it’s been growing and investing in itself, now employing more people than some Iron Range taconite mines.

Here, Magnetation explains its Plant 4 project in its own words:


  1. MattNOVA says

    For a number of years I was into blacksmithing/bladesmithing as a hobby, and I knew people who were crazy enough to make their own iron from ore. (In fact, one of them is up there around the Iron Range somewhere.) I even wanted to try it myself. I’ve been too busy for that sort of thing the past few years, but reading stuff like this gets me all fired up again. It also makes me wish I still lived in the Midwest!

  2. I heard tonight this 4th processing plant is going to be a “right to work” operation. Anyone know if this is true ? (that would be you, Aaron)

  3. “Right to Work” refers to state policies weakening collective bargaining powers. Companies are either in a union contract with their workforce, or they aren’t. Magnetation’s plants on the Iron Range (to date) have been organized by the 49ers, the operating engineers, since their inception. I am not aware that Plant 4 would be any different. Now, Magnetation’s new processing plant in Indiana could be a different story. Indiana is a right to work state, which means the company would be under significantly less pressure to deal with a union. That’s the extent of what I know.

    • Thanks, Aaron. Seemed unusual (to say the least) that one out of four in this range country would be non-union, when the others are union . I guess time will tell. It always does.

  4. Ranger47 says

    Aaron, Aaron
    Right to work has nothing to do with “state policies weakening collective bargaining powers”.

    Right to work is the concept that people have a human right to work and engage in productive employment…without being forced to join or pay money to a union. It simply gives all people the right to choose, nothing more, nothing else.

    As a communication expert, you’re well aware of the consequences to ones credibility if they attempt to mislead, speak partial truths or outright lie…and then get caught doing so.

  5. Bob, I’m not going down the 25 post-and-rant rabbit hole with you tonight, but “Right to Work” is a research-tested political catchphrase used by people who want to weaken collective bargaining rights. I’m not saying you have to like collective bargaining or the contracts that are negotiated in that process, but that’s what it is. You don’t pass a “right to work” law to make unions stronger, you pass it to make them weaker. That’s a fact. But go ahead and call me a liar and use what limited knowledge you have of what I do for a living to repeat your ideology to the zero people here who haven’t heard you say it again, and again, and again, and again, and again. I say again, I’m not interested in arguing whether unions are good or bad, or whether anti-union blogs help state economies. We disagree and that’s not changing tonight. I’m saying that Right to Work is a political label, just like Pro-Choice or Pro-Life being used by those that carry those labels, and Pro-Abortion and Anti-Choice being used by their opponents. It’s semantics, Bob. But you know that. You got your one response from me.

  6. Ranger47 says

    Right to work is neither “anti-union” nor “pro-union.” It simply provides individual freedom to choose.

    For those individuals choosing to belong to a union, nothing prevents them from negotiating contracts that apply to their members only. Why would a contract negotiated by a union which has only members choosing to be members be “weaker” as you contend? If anything, it should be stronger, they’re all unified.

    (p.s. – the synonym for Pro-Choice is not Pro-Abortion, it’s Pro-Death. But that’s another matter, let’s not lose focus.)

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