Updated: 01/02/2014 10:45 PM
Created: 01/02/2014 2:37 PM WDIO.com
The mining companies had a good year, and are gearing up for a good 2014 as well.
Northshore Mining idled two production lines in 2013, which meant layoffs for dozens of people. But on a better note, in March, workers showed us how they've been able to make a new type of iron ore pellet. The pellets look the same, but have a higher iron content, and can be fed into a DRI plant. DRI, direct reduced iron, is considered the wave of the future. Some of the laid off workers were called back for this project.
U.S. Steel's CEO spoke in Minneapolis at the end of January. John Surma announced they are part of a new iron ore alliance with the Steelworkers, to help spread awareness of the importance of mining. We met the new general manager for the company's Minnesota ore operations, Larry Sutherland. He says it's great to be back on the Range, after managing other U.S. Steel facilities during his career.
PolyMet had a big year. Their long-awaited Supplemental Draft EIS was published and is now out for public review. It's 2200 pages long. The company has also applied for their wetland permit through the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
The Mining Truth coalition sent a petition to Governor Mark Dayton, asking him to ensure the environment will be protected with any copper-nickel mining project like PolyMet.
As for the Highway 53 relocation project, a new option was discovered. It's still through the Rouchleau pit. But engineers discovered it could possibly be de-watered, meaning a long bridge might not be needed. MnDOT also decided to the relief of many, that the western route would no longer be on the table. In June, a large economic study started to determined some of the impacts of moving the road. And MnDOT began hosting "Coffee and Conversation" meetings to keep folks updated.
Progress at Essar Steel's site remained slow all year, although some work began again in October. The timetable of when they may be producing iron ore pellets is likely the first part of 2015.
Magnetation is moving forward with their new pellet plant in Reynolds, Indiana. And the state approved a mining lease for their soon to be built plant near the Canisteo Pit.
As for 2014, the outlook is strong for capacity at the traditional mines.
UMD's NRRI Minerals Lab: Testing Technology for the Future
The scientists at UMD's NRRI Mineral Lab in Coleraine are working with technology called WHIMS, to see if they can use ore that now is considered waste rock by the mines.
Minn. Deer Harvest Down 22 Percent
Minnesota hunters have registered 111,000 deer through the third and last weekend of the firearms deer season, a drop of 31,000 from the same period a year ago.
Self-Professed Pine Co. Minister Now on Most Wanted list
The U.S. Marshals Service has added a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing young girls in rural Minnesota to its 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Citizens Voice Concerns Over Policing in Open Forum
Duluth community members voiced their concerns Tuesday night with local police at a Citizen Review Board forum, as the Duluth Police Department strives to maintain a good relationship with the community. Events in Ferguson, Missouri have brought into focus issues of excessive police force and profiling across the country
Peaceful Ferguson Protests in the Northland
While chaos ensued in Ferguson, Missouri Tuesday, peaceful protestors in the Northland were asking for change both in Ferguson and closer to home.