Hibbing Taconite third Iron Range mine to shut down amid economic slide

A view of the Hibbing Taconite open mine pit in North Hibbing. (PHOTO: Aaron J. Brown)

Global steel giant ArcelorMittal will idle its Hibbing Taconite plant from May 3 through July 6 amid evaporating demand for iron ore in a growing economic recession. The move will furlough 650 employees.

HibTac becomes the third Mesabi Iron Range mine to announce a shutdown during prime production season due to the sudden collapse of the global economy after the onset of COVID-19.

Cleveland Cliffs’ Northshore Mining announced a shutdown last week. A few days later, U.S. Steel made a similar announcement at Keewatin Taconite. That means that all three of the big iron ore producers in Minnesota will curtail production during the heart of 2020.

Remaining iron ore mines include U.S. Steel’s Minntac in Mountain Iron, Cliffs’ United Taconite in Eveleth, and ArcelorMittal’s Minorca Mine near Virginia. The idling of these mines would reflect dire iron ore and steel markets.





  1. An important thing to note with these shutdowns is that historically restarts after shutdowns are usually accompanied by reduction of total workforce. The companies use the shutdown and restart cycle to amend staffing strategies to cover the reduction in needed workforce due to automation and improved mechanization. Generally this is relatively painless, since big shutdowns are also accompanied by some people leaving mining and often leaving the area. Retirements are also often accelerated by shutdowns as well. So most people who want their job back get it back, but the overall regional employment by mining takes another dip.

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