Pellet production resumes at Keetac

Updated: December 11, 2020 06:48 PM
Created: December 11, 2020 07:15 AM

Pellets are rolling off the line at Keetac again. According to Local 2660 president Dan Pierce, the first ones were produced on Tuesday. And the first train left with a load on Thursday.

"Just seeing the steam coming off the pellets as they were being loaded in the cars. The sun wasn't quite up yet. In the quietness of the morning, you could hear the pellets hit the cars for the first time in quite awhile. It was really an exciting moment," Pierce said.

U.S. Steel had notified the plant last month that they were calling people back, to make sure there were enough pellets to get them through the winter.

It's been a flurry of activity ever since. "It took us about two weeks, from being at home to having pellets roll out on the first train," Pierce added. "The members here are really resilient. And we take it with pride, when we take down a plant, that we can bring it back up again in a matter of weeks."

Keetac is the final plant to be back online after the slowdown in the industry. Hibbing Taconite and Northshore had been idle for several months this summer as well.

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