Yesterday, Minntac and Keetac held their annual holiday gate collections, raising a total of $6,467 for area nonprofits. At the gate collections, money is gathered from employees at the facilities as they enter their workplaces.
Donations collected at Minntac were given to the Hibbing and Quad Cities food shelves and the Salvation Army Food Shelf in Hibbing. Keetac collections were donated to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Food Shelf in Nashwauk.
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Bob Bratulich and Chris Masciantonio, co-chairs of the Iron Ore Alliance, authored a column published in MINE II. The column discusses the alliance’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices and highlights U. S. Steel’s $108 million investment in low nitrous oxide (NOx) burners and the Sand River seep collection and return system.
Keetac was honored with the Sentinels of Safety Award, which is presented annually to the nation’s safest mining operations by the National Mining Association. Keetac was recognized in the “large open pit” category for its 2012 safety record, which included an OSHA recordable injury rate of 0.23.
A group of Minnesota legislators toured Minntac near Mountain Iron, the largest taconite mine on the Mesabi Range. During the tour, lawmakers learned more about the millions of dollars in annual trust money that iron ore mines, also known as ferrous mines, contribute to public education statewide.
In 2012, United States Steel Corporation – which owns and operates Minntac and Keetac near Keewatin – contributed more than $47 million in royalty payments to the trust fund. This amounts to 89 percent of the total trust fund contributions in 2012.
Revenues the state receives from mining activities at iron ore facilities like Minntac and Keetac go directly into the Permanent School Fund. The interest from the fund is distributed to every public school in the state.
Minnesota House Majority Leader Erin Murphy (DFL – Saint Paul) toured U. S. Steel’s Minntac facility to learn more about the largest taconite mining operation on the Mesabi Iron Range. Pictured with Representative Murphy is Bob Bratulich, director of United Steelworkers District 11, who helped facilitate the tour.