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