A look at the major mining moments from 2023

Looking back at mining milestones in 2023

The mining year in review for 2023 looks at milestone moments for the industry.

2023 is nearly over, and it’s time to take a stroll down mining memory lane.

January: The DNR started the winter pumping program at the Canisteo Pit. Down in the cities, the 2023 legislative session began with new leaders. They voted to extend the unemployment benefits for miners at Northshore Mining. A visit from a geologist from the UK, to our copper nickel projects. And then a blow for one of them, Twin Metals. The Biden administration announced a 20-year ban on mineral exploration on federal land, that includes their project site.

February: PolyMet and Teck Resources announced they are combining forces for what’s now called the NewRange Copper Nickel project. And Cleveland-Cliffs begins recalling workers back to Northshore.

March: The State Executive Council approved leases to extend the life of Hibtac through the end of 2026. The Iron Ore Alliance celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It’s made up of the USW and U.S. Steel.

April: We were still trying to dig ourselves out of the snowiest winter on record. People managed to make it to the annual SME Minnesota conference. And there was a partial restart of Northshore.

May: Big news for Cliffs from the DNR about mineral leases. The State Executive Council approved leases in Nashwauk that will provide decades of ore for Hibtac. Also in St. Paul, a bonding bill that includes money for the Canisteo outflow project. And on May 17th, the first Stand Down to Save Lives Day, an effort by MSHA.

June: Some bad news for NewRange. The Army Corp revoked the wetland permit. But another project, Talon Metals, submitted their Environmental Assessment Worksheet to the state.

July: Northshore Mining workers vote to join the union. They are now local 1955. There’s a push to make PolyMet a privately owned company. And NewCon invited us to see their operations in Hibbing.

August: A major announcement from U.S. Steel. They’ve been approached by others to buy parts or all of the company. The Minnesota Supreme Court sends a water permit for New Range back to the state. And a leader from the Eagle Mine visited the Better in Our Backyard folks, to inspire our mining community.

September: We saw the start of the United Autoworkers strike. Plus the announcement about $20 million dollars in federal funds for Talon Metals, to accelerate their project. It ended on a sad note though, with the death of USW International President Tom Conway.

October: The Iron Range STEM Showcase continues. Mining companies are big supporters. Mesabi Metallics said they remain focused on getting their concentrator building more complete, and that workers are on site each day.

November: We share about the newly formed group called Iron Range Veterans of Steel, which includes veterans from across the locals. They are focused on helping their communities. The DNR signed off on exploratory drilling for Twin Metals. And PolyMet is now fully owned by Glencore.

December: U.S. Steel announced funding to buy 650 youth hockey players neck protection, in honor of Hibbing native and former UMD Bulldog Adam Johnson. And then, a week before Christmas, the big announcement that Nippon Steel from Japan plans on buying U.S. Steel.

The iron ore totals aren’t in yet, but nearly every month saw a big increase.

Plenty of moving parts, and many more to come in 2024!