Iron Rangers React to Keetac Reopening
The Mines Will Bring Back Around 200 Mining Jobs Back to the Iron Range
KEEWATIN, Minn.- There’s a collective sigh of relief across the city of Keewatin, after U.S. Steel reached agreements to supply iron ore pellets to third-party customers, and announced the Reopening of Keetac, and the return of around 200 mining jobs back to the Iron Range.
“To hear that they’re going back and to know that they’re going back is really good news,” said William King, the Mayor of Keewatin.
The mine will be open early next year, and the pellet production is expected to start in March.
The 20 month closure was not only hard on those who lost their jobs, but also on other businesses in the community that support, and are in turn supported by the mining industry. So even seemingly unrelated businesses are excited by the news of Keetac reopening.
“Some of those smaller companies that supply Keetac I’m sure they laid off people so hopefully it will affect them in a good way,” said King.
“It does help the local businesses, as well as the people who work in the mines and it’s just good news to hear that they got back to work,” said Annette Faulkner, Owner of Vene-Qua Bar in Keewatin.
Many hope the mine reopening can lead to a revitalization of Keewatin, and years of well paying jobs for the community.
“I’ve been mayor of Keewatin for 6 years, and I’ve already done this twice. K? Reopening of Keetec interview. And I’d prefer to not ever have to do that again,” said King.
The Hibbing Community College is preparing to accommodate students, after the news of Keetac reopening. Many people had gone back to school after the mine closed, to gain skills for a new career. Some of those students will be leaving school to go back to their mining jobs. But the college also offers many courses and majors that could benefit people who want to work in the mining industry, while still teaching skills that could translate to other jobs.
“We’re excited that the mining industries will be opening back up so that more students will find jobs in that area should they wish to be employed there and stay on the Iron Range,” said Lisa Bestul, Dean of Liberal arts and Student Affairs.