Oct 15, 2014

The Iron Ore Alliance emphasized the importance of fixing the current state of rail service at Governor Mark Dayton’s rail delay roundtable in Duluth Tuesday. Larry Sutherland, general manager for Minnesota Ore Operations at U. S. Steel, presented during the roundtable. U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations are being adversely affected by delayed and inconsistent rail service and congestion. With its Minntac and Keetac facilities located in northeastern Minnesota, U. S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations is the state’s largest iron ore pellet producer.

More than two million tons of pellets have built up at taconite facilities on the Iron Range because of the significant delays and inconsistent rail service throughout the Upper Midwest.    U. S. Steel’s Keetac plant is experiencing a backlog of 250,000 tons of pellets and rising, due to the difficulty of getting railcars.

It is important to the Iron Ore Alliance that these backlogs be addressed immediately. When the Great Lakes close for the winter, rail will be the only available form of shipment. Thousands of workers make their livelihoods in the iron mining industry, which depends on effective transportation.  We appreciate Governor Dayton addressing this issue and look forward to working with his office, elected officials, and other stakeholders to effectively solve it.


With Gov 2

Oct 09, 2014

Taconite facilities on the Iron Range currently have more than 2 million tons of pellets stockpiled as a result of poor rail service. The Iron Ore Alliance is grateful for the support of the Minnesota lawmakers who are calling on railroad companies to address the ongoing delays so that taconite producers can get iron ore to steel mills in a timely manner. We are especially appreciative of the ongoing support from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who recently submitted testimony about this issue at a joint Minnesota Senate and House hearing. Below is an excerpt from Senator Klobuchar’s testimony. Click here to read her full testimony.


These disruptions not only affect operations at these mining companies, but also at the steel mills further down the Great Lakes that rely on taconite pellets to feed their furnaces. There is a finite shipping season on the Great Lakes which will close for shipping for the winter in just a few months, so it’s critical that railroad companies address these backlogs.

–          U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 9/30/14



Sep 19, 2014

Updating Minnesota’s water quality standard to protect wild rice is critically important to the future of the mining industry and our communities in Northeastern Minnesota.

Attend one of these meetings to learn more:

Wednesday, October 1

5-7 p.m. (dinner served at 5 p.m., program begins at 5:30 p.m.)
The Lodge at Giants Ridge
6373 Wynne Creek Drive
Biwabik, MN

Thursday, October 2

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (lunch served at 11:30 a.m., program begins at noon)
Minnesota Discovery Center
1005 Discovery Drive
Chisholm, MN

Speakers include:

  • Mike Hansel, senior chemical engineer and vice president at Barr Engineering
  • Robin Richards, REM, Principal for ENVIRON Global
  • Shannon Lotthammer, MPCA director, environmental analysis and outcomes division

To help us plan for enough food, please RSVP to Katy Kohlhase at kohlhase@taconite.org by September 24 and let her know which meeting you plan to attend.  For more information, contact the Iron Mining Association at 218-722-7724.


Sep 17, 2014


The Iron Ore Alliance is pleased that United States Steel Corporation’s Minntac facility has received the final necessary federal permits to move forward with a 483-acre extension of the mine’s boundary, which supports 100 jobs and generates millions of dollars for the state’s school trust fund. The extension will allow the facility to continue to mine and produce taconite pellets for approximately 16 more years.

“The Iron Ore Alliance is thankful for the support of our Congressional delegation – Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Congressman Nolan – for their assistance with the permits,” added Masciantonio. “We also appreciate the commitment and support of Governor Dayton, his state agencies, and the Iron Range legislative delegation. We would like to finally thank the U.S.  Army Corps of Engineers for completing the approvals that will allow the expansion to proceed.”

For more information, please read the U.S. Steel and United Steelworkers press releases about the expansion.


Aug 22, 2014

The U.S. International Trade Commission today voted to impose dumping margins against steel products from eight countries including South Korea.  Click here to view a statement from United States Steel Corporation President and CEO Mario Longhi.  Click here to view a press release from the United Steelworkers.



Aug 04, 2014

On July 31, 1884, Minnesota’s very first shipment of iron ore left the Soudan Mine.  On July 31, 2014, industry leaders, public officials, and other supporters gathered in Soudan to celebrate Minnesota’s 130th anniversary of iron mining.

The event, hosted by the Iron Mining Association, included remarks from John Rebrovich of the United Steelworkers and Larry Sutherland of U. S. Steel.  Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board Commissioner Tony Sertich also presented a proclamation by Governor Mark Dayton that named July 31 as Minnesota Iron Day.

The Soudan Mine was owned and operated by U. S. Steel from 1901 until 1962.  It became a state park in 1963 after U. S. Steel donated the property to the state.  Today, the underground mine attracts more than 40,000 annual visitors.

The Iron Ore Alliance is proud of our industry’s rich heritage on the Iron Range. We are hopeful that our collaborative efforts will help strengthen the mining industry in Minnesota for many more decades.


Sertich proclamation

Jul 21, 2014

Last month we rallied for a level playing field, and now our voices are being heard. The Iron Ore Alliance applauds the Department of Commerce (DOC) for taking a stand for fairness on behalf of America’s 583,000 steel-related workers, including 10,400 in Minnesota. The DOC’s ruling states that imports of oil country tubular goods are priced unfairly low and punitive tariffs should be imposed upon them. We are hopeful that the International Trade Commission will uphold the decision next month.


We would like to thank our thousands of Minnesota union members, businesses, and neighbors who have helped share our concerns about this issue. We would also like to thank Senators Tom Bakk, David Tomassoni, and Tom Saxhaug; Representatives Joe Radinovich, Tom Anzelc, and Jason Metza; U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken; U.S. Congressman Rick Nolan; and all of the Minnesota public officials who have testified, rallied, and written letters in support of iron mining jobs. It is an excellent example of why we want to continue employing, operating and investing in Minnesota.

Click here to watch a video about the six rallies held around the nation to save our steel jobs.

Jun 24, 2014

The Iron Ore Alliance thanks its thousands of supporters who attended the Rally on the Range on June 23 to support iron mining jobs.  We are humbled and inspired to have such widespread support from public officials, businesses, union members, and members of the general public.  It is an excellent example of why we want to continue employing, operating and investing in Minnesota.

Gov. Dayton

We are hopeful that the federal government has taken notice of the many rallies that have been held around the nation to support America’s 583,000 steel-related jobs, including more than 10,000 in Minnesota.  Solving this issue is vital to our industry.  Foreign countries should not be allowed to continue to blatantly violate our laws at the expense of our workers, their families, and our communities.  Please consider taking action by sending a letter to your elected officials or sharing information on your social media accounts.  Thank you!

Apr 30, 2014

Tubular goods

The Iron Ore Alliance is extremely concerned about the continued health and viability of iron ore mines in Minnesota if South Korea and eight other countries keep dumping their steel products into the U.S. market.  Last year, United States Steel Corporation filed a trade case against the countries, based on an intense surge in underpriced steel products imported into the U.S. market.  We believe that these products are being illegally dumped into our market at prices below normal value and in ways designed to circumvent trade laws.  The case is now under consideration by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

In 2008, Chinese companies aggressively dumped these same products into our market, causing pipe mills across the nation to close or operate at less than 30 percent capacity.  Thousands of steelworkers were left without jobs.  The unfair dumping of 2008 also hurt Minnesota’s iron mining operations, as it sparked talks of consolidating our Minntac and Keetac facilities.  The industry fought against the illegally dumped Chinese imports and won, and we hope to achieve the same result in 2014.  The Iron Ore Alliance will continue to work hard to share the importance of this issue so we can continue employing, operating and investing in Minnesota.

Click here to learn more about this issue.

Apr 02, 2014
United Steelworker Dave Sundquist donates at the Keetac gate collection on March 27, 2014.

United Steelworker Dave Sundquist donates at the Keetac gate collection on March 27, 2014.

United States Steel Corporation’s Minnesota Ore Operations and the United Steelworkers donated $8,302 to area food shelves.  March gate collections at the Minntac and Keetac facilities generated $5,302, while U. S. Steel donated an additional $3,000.  At the gate collections, which are held several times a year, money is gathered from Minntac and Keetac employees as they enter their respective workplaces.

Money was given to the following food shelves.

  • Hibbing Food Shelf (Hibbing)
  • Quad City Food Shelf (Gilbert)
  • Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Shelf (Nashwauk)

United States Steel and the United Steelworkers support many of the programs that are vital to northeastern Minnesota.  Last year, for example, the groups contributed nearly $400,000 to organizations and causes in Minnesota.