Updated: 08/26/2014 10:23 PM
Created: 08/26/2014 7:28 PM WDIO.com
Minntac is the largest mine in the Northland. And according to Senator Al Franken, it's the largest mine in the world.
When we took a look inside the massive mine pits, mine managers told us its 11 miles between the edges of the East and West Pits.
And U.S. Steel wants to continue to mine even more. They have applied for permits to extend their East Pit about 483 acres. This will extend the life of the mine by at least 16 years, according to company leaders.
The company has the necessary state permits. But they are waiting on a crucial wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Franken sent a letter to the Corp last fall, urging them to issue this in a timely manner.
After his tour on Tuesday, he said he would make some calls when he got back to Washington to get this done.
His challenger, Mike McFadden, who is a Republican, weighed in on the topic over the phone. "I want them to get that extension. It's unacceptable that they are still waiting for a permit from the federal government," he told us over the phone.
Minntac officials said they have all the plans ready, and can move rock as soon as the final permits are issued. The company has invested millions in equipment and manpower for this extension.
Also, Franken and McFadden both said the recent International Trade Commission ruling on duties on foreign steel is a positive thing.
McFadden told us that Franken isn't really fighting for the mines, since he voted for the Export-Import Bank, which is supporting a large loan to help an iron ore project in Australia.
Franken responded that he did vote for the Bank, but the iron ore project was the one thing he wasn't for.
Iron Range Woman Killed in Three-Vehicle Crash on Icy Roads in Itasca County
A 25-year-old woman died in a three-vehicle crash on icy roads in Itasca County on Saturday evening. The incident happened on Highway 169 near milepost 317 between Marble and Taconite just after 7 p.m.
1 Man Dead after Duluth Apartment Complex Fire
One man is dead after a fire at Duluth's Tri-Towers Apartment Complex Saturday night, according to the Duluth Fire Department.
Fire in Vacant Duluth Home Causes $50K in Damage
No one was injured when the Duluth Fire Department responded to a fire in the basement of a vacant home around 5:30 p.m. Saturday night.
Candlelight Vigil Celebrates Stabbing Victim's Life
Family and friends of 75-year old Sally Marie Pionk gathered outside of the West Duluth Super One grocery store where she was fatally stabbed last week to honor her with a candlelight vigil Saturday night.
High Ollie Contest at Spirit Supports Alzheimer's Research
Snowboarders got to show off their skills Sunday afternoon at Spirit Mountain all for a good cause. Professional snowboarder Viktor Simco has Duluth roots and hosted the high ollie contest at Spirit. About 30 snowboarders tested how high they could make it over a jump to win prizes...