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130 Years of Mining in Minnesota

Updated: 07/31/2014 11:03 PM
Created: 07/31/2014 4:29 PM WDIO.com

130 years ago, miners at the Breitung Mine gathered with their families, to hand load the first shipment of iron ore onto a train. The 10 car train left for Two Harbors, and the ore eventually made its way to a steel mill in Cleveland.

Fast forward to Thursday, mining industry stakeholders gathered to celebrate the anniversary of that first shipment. The ceremony took place at the Breitung Town Hall, which is less than a mile from the Breitung Mine, Minnesota's first iron mine.

"Mining is in my blood. My grandfather worked in that mine. My daughter worked at the Soudan Mine State Park. And on my wife's side, her great-grandfather, grandfather, and father worked in the mines. I work at Hibbing Taconite now," explained Tim Tomsich, chair of the Breitung Town Board. "This is a fantastic celebration."

Several lawmakers spoke, along with the IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich, who read a proclamation from Governor Mark Dayton. The proclamation designated July 31, 2014, as Minnesota Iron Day, in honor of the 130th anniversary.

Representative David Dill referenced the "We Support Mining" signs that are seen across the Range. "I think they should say, We Live Mining. Not only does it support us, but we live it."

Steelworker leadership, US Steel's General Mananger of Ore Operations, county commissioners, and the park manager of the Soudan State Park all spoke.

Jim Essig, the park manager, said it's about the people, and the heritage. He's been at the park for 25 years.

Dill also said that there are many projects on the horizon for the next generation of miners.

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