Feb 04, 2020

From providing jobs and shaping our skyline to helping
provide funding for schools and partnering to protect the environment, iron
mining is a critical part of Minnesota’s economy and community. That’s why – in
our new video series, Taconite Talks
– we are talking to people in our region about what it means to be a part of
the iron mining industry and the impact it has throughout Minnesota.

In the first Taconite Talks, we hear from Les Minter, a third-generation steelworker at Minntac and member of USW Local 1938, about what iron mining means to him. Check it out!

Stay tuned for more Taconite Talks with policymakers, steelworkers and community members on our website and Twitter page!

Jun 24, 2019

The Iron Ore Alliance was proud to support a community initiative to restore the Olcott Park fountain in Virginia, Minnesota.

The historic Olcott Park fountain, which was built during the Great Depression, fell victim to mechanical issues when it stopped flowing in 2013.

After six dry years, many community meetings and $1 million in donations, a crowd of residents gathered in June to watch the fountain spring forth once again.

With the fountain back in action, the Parks and Recreation Commission for the City of Virginia seeks to raise an additional $50,000 before they render the project fully complete. Learn more here.

Jun 21, 2019

U. S. Steel introduced its new P&H 2800 shovel at Minntac in Mountain Iron on June 18, which is the first of its kind on the Iron Range.

The electric shovel, which took three months to build, has a price tag of more than $20 million. Its primary purpose will be to strip waste rock to expose and load crude ore directly for delivery to primary crushers.

The shovel features a state-of-the-art alternating current (AC) drive, which differs from traditional direct current (DC) drive shovels.

This cutting-edge machinery is a great investment in new
technology and makes the mining process more efficient.

Learn more here.

Mar 26, 2019

It’s a little-known source of major school funding.

The Iron Ore Alliance is pleased to share that Minntac and Keetac operations provided $22.7 million of the approximately $33 million that went to Minnesota’s permanent school fund in 2018. Money from the fund is distributed to Minnesota’s 337 public school districts based on student population.

Special thanks to Rep. Rob Ecklund for authoring a column about the history and impact of this fund that was published in the Mesabi Daily News last week. U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations is proud to be major contributor to this fund that helps schools across the state.

Jul 09, 2018

This summer the Iron Ore Alliance was proud to sponsor the 18th Annual International Legislators Forum held in Biwabik, Minnesota. The International Legislators Forum is an annual meeting of legislators from Manitoba, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. This year’s topics included mining, trade, and environmental permitting and review. The forum gives legislators an opportunity to share information, understand problems, and build relationships.

“Mining is a critical part of Minnesota’s economy and is where the steelmaking process begins,” said Chris Masciantonio, co-chair of the Iron Ore Alliance. “The iron ore pellets produced in Minnesota contribute to our country’s economic and national security.”

While in Minnesota, the group had the opportunity to tour U. S. Steel’s Minntac mine which is North America’s largest iron ore mine. It is nine miles long and 1.5 miles at its widest point. Part of the tour included observing a blast.

Key facts about the day’s blast include:

  • 466,000 pounds of explosive was used
  • 187 40-foot holes were drilled to hold the explosive
  • 519,000 tons of material resulted from the blast




Mar 26, 2018

For more than 130 years, the Iron Range has been defined by the iron mining industry. This is where America’s steelmaking process begins.

We are proud of this history, our range communities, and our workforce. Below is a short video to help tell this story.


Oct 26, 2017

The Iron Ore Alliance joined Minnesota’s range delegation, local officials, the Iron Mining Association, chambers of commerce, and others for a pre-hearing rally on October 24 to urge the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to consider all of the facts and consequences before making any decision on a sulfate water quality standard.

Oct 04, 2017

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) proposed new water quality standard could have a devastating impact for families on the Iron Range and throughout Minnesota. It isn’t based on modern science, isn’t proven to protect wild rice, and would cause major job losses.

We’re asking the MPCA to consider all of the facts and consequences before making a decision on a sulfate water quality standard. Here are some ways you can get involved as well.

Submit a comment online

Submit comments online between now and November 2 by following these instructions:

Write a letter

Write a letter and mail it by November 2 to:

Office of Administrative Hearings
P.O. Box 64620
St. Paul, MN 55164-0620

To view a sample letter, please click here.

Attend a public hearing

Hearings on this issue will be held throughout Minnesota, October 23 – November 2. For a full list of public hearings, please click here.

Sep 15, 2017

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently released its proposal for changes to the sulfate water quality standard to protect wild rice.

This issue is critical for the families and communities who live and work on the Iron Range. The cost of complying with the proposed standard would result in major job losses in Northeastern Minnesota and hurt cities and businesses throughout the state.

The MPCA’s proposed rule is not proven to protect wild rice, and the current standard of 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) was enacted back in 1973 based on observations from the 1940s. We support a modern, science-based approach to help our state protect wild rice.

Silhouette of fishing boat and person on a Minnesota lake during the sunset with clouds and sun reflection on the lake water. This picture was taken during the early part of summer.

Aug 30, 2017

On August 23, Minnesota’s Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission toured Minntac to learn about the impact of Minnesota Ore Operations on Minnesota’s permanent school fund. Operations on school trust lands at Minntac and Keetac have provided approximately $370 million to Minnesota public schools over the last 15 years, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of all contributions to Minnesota’s permanent school fund.

Minnetac commission

The commission, comprised of state legislators, oversees the management of Minnesota’s permanent school fund.

Money from the fund is distributed to Minnesota’s 553 public school districts based on student population. For example, the St. Paul Public School District (largest in the state) received $1.1 million in 2015, while the Virginia Public School District received $51,000. Click here to see how much each school district in Minnesota receives from the fund.

“What a wonderful opportunity it was to welcome the Legislative School Fund Commission to Minntac to help members better understand the importance of our company’s mining operations and its impact on public education in Minnesota,” said U. S. Steel’s Chris Masciantonio, co-chair of the Iron Ore Alliance.

“The Iron Range is where the steelmaking process begins, and we’re quite proud of that,” said Mike Woods, United Steelworkers staff representative. “We’re happy to showcase the hard work and innovation that happens at Minntac and Keetac each day to produce iron ore that the world depends on.”

During their tour of Minntac, members experienced a blast. Click below to watch a video of it.