Mining

EPA Recommends Against Reissuing Permit for PolyMet Mine

The Environmental Protection Agency says the project could raise levels of mercury and other pollutants downstream from the site in northeastern Minnesota.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Federal regulators are recommending that the Army Corps of Engineers decline to reissue a key permit for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine. The Environmental Protection Agency says the project could raise levels of mercury and other pollutants downstream from the site in northeastern Minnesota. It’s just a recommendation, but Minnesota Public Radio reports it could…

The Horns Return To Duluth-Superior Port As First Ship Departs Sunday

DULUTH, Minn. – The true sound of spring in Duluth was heard Sunday morning as the first blast of the horns went off for that first big ship of the season leaving the Duluth-Superior Port. The 1,000-foot Burns Harbor left through chunks of ice under the Lift Bridge during the 7 o’clock hour. The 1,000-foot Edwin H. Gott departed and…

Partially Sunken Tugboat In Duluth Harbor Now Leaking Oil Into Slip

DULUTH, Minn. – Environmental concerns are growing involving that partially sunken retired tugboat in the Duluth Harbor. This comes as at least a gallon of oil has leaked out into the slip’s water, according to the Duluth Coast Guard. “We do now have some sheening from the vessel. And that’s where we have the contractor putting sorbent material in the…

Minnesota Agency Stops Work on Mine Near Boundary Waters

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota regulators have told the company behind the stalled copper-nickel mine project near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness that it’s stopping work on the state’s environmental review. The Department of Natural Resources says it will “redirect staff resources to other high priority projects.” The agency has concerns about the location for the large amount of semi-dry processing…

Cleveland-Cliffs to Temporarily Idle Northshore Mining

SILVER BAY, Minn. – Cleveland-Cliffs announced on Friday it is idling its Northshore Mining in Silver Bay including both of the pellet and mining operations this spring. Cliffs Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Patricia Persico says the operations will be idled from May 1 through the fall of 2022. Northshore Mining employs roughly 430 hourly employees and 150 salaried employees….

Court Offers Mixed Views on Water Permit for Minnesota Mine

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A Minnesota appeals court has issued a mixed opinion in a complicated case contesting one of the key permits that a St. Paul-based company needs to build what would be the state’s first copper-nickel mine. The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a decision by regulators to issue the PolyMet Mining Corp. a water quality permit…

Appeals Court: Group Can Sue Over Mining Rules

ELY, Minn. (AP) – A Minnesota appellate court has affirmed that a wilderness advocacy group has the standing to challenge state rules on copper mine sites. The Minnesota Appeals Court’s ruling Monday means that Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness’ lawsuit can continue. The group filed the action in June 2020 arguing the 29-year-old sitting rules should prohibit copper mining along waters…

Minnesota Regulators Reaffirm Air Permit for Proposed Mine

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State regulators who three years ago issued an air quality permit for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northwestern Minnesota stood by their decision in a report released Monday that said the mine did not provide misleading information on its plans. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency report is a blow to several environmental groups and the…

Minnesota Lets Public Weigh In on Adequacy of Mining Rules

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota regulators are accepting public comments on whether the state’s regulation of nonferrous mining would provide sufficient protection against environmental damage to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The comment period runs through Dec. 8. The Department of Natural Resources has established a dedicated webpage for its court-ordered review, which stems from a lawsuit that seeks to…

Twin Metals to Appeal Federal Decision on Proposed Mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Twin Metals says it will appeal a federal decision that dealt a serious blow to its proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. Last week, the Biden administration ordered a mineral withdrawal study that could lead to a 20-year ban on mining upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a popular recreational area in the Superior National…

Biden Administration Delivers Serious Blow to Proposed Twin Metals Mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Biden administration dealt a serious blow Wednesday to the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, ordering a study that could lead to a 20-year ban on mining upstream from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The government said it has filed an application for a “mineral withdrawal,” which would begin with a comprehensive study…

Highway 53 Bridge Dedicated to Late State Rep. Tom Rukavina

On Thursday, the bridge he fought so hard to build back in 2017 was officially dedicated to him.

VIRGINIA, Minn. — “He often urged people to buy American-made products. In fact, he would tell you even his underwear was made in the U.S.A by union workers. If you didn’t believe him, he would volunteer to prove it to you,” District 6 Senator, David Tomassoni says. Former Minnesota House Representative Tom Rukavina passed away two years ago after a…

Workers Hold Rally Against Potential Vaccine Mandates

HIBBING, Minn.– Hundreds of people gathered in Bennett Park in Hibbing on Wednesday to hold a rally asking for a choice when it comes to vaccinations in the workplace. Cleveland Cliffs Inc. is the second largest steelmaker in America with 25,000 employees. According to Bloomberg, Cleveland Cliffs promised a $1500 bonus to employees who get vaccinated, and they could get…

City Leaders Hoping for Larger Voter Turnout in Municipal Primary

The municipal primary will be held Tuesday, August 10th.

DULUTH, Minn. — Duluth’s municipal primary is just a few weeks away and city leaders are pushing for a larger turnout. The city council at large, city council second district and city council fourth district seats are up for grabs come November. With early voting now open at city hall, officials say in a comparable election back in 2017, they…

Mesabi Metallics Acquires Land in Itasca County

NASHWAUK, Minn. – Mesabi Metallics announced Tuesday it has bought 3,200 acres of land from Butlertac Holdings LLC. According to a company press release, the acquired land interests include both mineral and surface leases as well as a combination of undivided and whole-fee interests, all lying within the Biwabik Iron Formation in the vicinity of the former Butler mine corridor…

US Steel Interested in Developing Mineral Leases Near Nashwauk Mine Site

NASHWAUK, Minn. – U.S. Steel announced on Thursday that it is interested in developing mineral leases near the incomplete Nahwauk mine site. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has started the process of terminating leases for the Mesabi Metallics iron ore mining project in Nashwauk after the company did not meet critical and required benchmarks by the agreed May 1…

Minnesota DNR Moving Forward With Terminating Mesabi Metallics Leases

NASHWAUK, Minn. – On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced they would be moving forward with terminating leases with Mesabi Metallics at their proposed project site in Nashwauk. The decision comes after Mesabi Metallics did not meet the terms of their agreement with the DNR to meet “critical and required benchmarks by May 1.” “Today’s announcement validates everything…

MN Supreme Court Decision Delays PolyMet Mine

ST. PAUL, Minn.– The Minnesota Supreme Court made a major ruling on Wednesday, which could have a big impact on the future of the proposed $1 billion PolyMet copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes. The justices confirmed a lower court’s decision to reverse PolyMet’s “permit to mine” for now, adding that the DNR should now set a fixed time period for…

EPA Review Faults Permitting for Proposed Minnesota Mine

MINNEAPOLIS-An internal Environmental Protection Agency investigation has found that the federal agency mishandled its oversight of permits for what would be Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine. The findings released Wednesday describe a flawed review of two permits issued for the $1 billion mine that PolyMet Mining Corp. wants to build near lakes Babbitt and Hoyt, which are about 200 miles northeast…

Regulators Suspend PolyMet’s Wetlands Permit for Mine

The suspension means five major permits for the $1 billion PolyMet project are now stayed or under review.

  MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A federal regulator has suspended the PolyMet Mining Corp.’s permit to dredge more than 900 acres of wetland for Minnesota’s first copper mine. The ruling is a victory for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa which attempted to protect Indigenous water quality standards as a “downstream state” under the Clean Water Act. The…

U.S. Rep. Stauber Hears Iron Rangers’ Hopes to Bring Critical Minerals Mining to Region

In what he called a community conversation in Aurora, MN, the Congressman heard feedback which he plans to bring back to Washington D.C.

AURORA, Minn.- 8th District Congressman Pete Stauber stopped by the Aurora Community Center Monday for a town hall style meeting with Iron Rangers, joining them in wanting to bring critical minerals mining to the Iron Range. “It’d be nice to see a new generation of people coming to the Iron Range to take on the next generation of mining,” said…

Minnesota Supreme Court Hands Victory to PolyMet Copper Mine

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File) MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed an appeals court’s rejection of a critical air emissions permit for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine and sent the case back for further proceedings. The court ruled Wednesday that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was not required under federal law to investigate allegations of “sham permitting.” The…

Minnesota Supreme Court Deals Blow to Minntac Iron Mine

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court says regulators can apply strict drinking water standards to limit groundwater pollution from North America’s top-producing iron mine. The high court says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency properly concluded that pollution seeping into groundwater from the Minntac mine has harmed waters covered by federal standards meant to protect drinking water. Reports…

ArcelorMittal USA Completes Sale to Cleveland-Cliffs

(AP Photo/Michel Euler) CLEVELAND, Oh. –  On Wednesday, ArcelorMittal announced the sale of ArcelorMittal USA to Cleveland-Cliffs has been completed. According to reports, the sale was for $1.4 billion in cash and shares. The deal, announced in September by the companies, makes Cleveland-Cliffs the largest flat-rolled steel and iron ore pellet producer in North America. “I would like to thank…

Hospitals Urging Community Members To Follow Safety Guidelines

Recent statistics show about 40% of all COVID-19 related hospitalizations in this region were reported during the first three weeks of November.

DULUTH, Minn. – This fall has been a very active time for spikes in covid-19 cases around the Northland. The latest numbers show September, October, and November with some of the highest rates for the transmission of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. That’s why area health professionals are urging everyone to follow safety guidelines to help slow…

Gun and Liquor Sales Spike Over Election Weekend

Some were stocking up on guns and champagne as the process played out.

DULUTH, Minn-  It’s been a highly emotional election season. As election results played out over the weekend some types of businesses in the Northland, like liquor stores and gun shops, saw a spike in sales. Strong feelings have been common with many people anxiously waiting for news about the presidential election results. Some were stocking up on certain items as…

Keewatin Taconite Plans to Restart Plant, Bring Back Workers

KEEWATIN, Minn. (AP) — U.S. Steel plans to bring back hundreds of workers at the Keewatin Taconite plant in northern Minnesota that was shut down in May due to a drop in demand for iron and steel during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday. Dan Pierce, United Steelworkers union president for Keetac, said the company plans to begin recalling union…

U.S. Steel ‘Evaluating Potential Restart of Keetac’ by End of Year

KEEWATIN, Minn. – U.S. Steel says they are “evaluating a potential restart of Keetac by year-end.” The site has sat idle since May of this year due to the coronavirus pandemic leaving over 300 workers still without a job. “We continue to evaluate the timing around a potential restart of Keetac. Seasonality is a part of that decision process,” a…

Cleveland-Cliffs to Acquire ArcelorMittal

The deal is worth roughly $1.4 billion. 

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Minn. – Cleveland Cliffs has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with ArcelorMittal to acquire all of the operations of ArcelorMittal and its subsidiaries. The deal is worth roughly $1.4 billion. Once the deal closes, Cleveland-Cliffs will be the largest flat-rolled steel producer in North America. The company will also be the largest iron ore…

Ruth House In Superior Needs Donations

Walking Ministries, which runs Ruth House, will soon open two new locations in Washburn and Burnett counties.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The Ruth House in Superior is preparing its warming centers before those cold nights hit the Northland, but they are asking for the community’s help. The local organization currently has warming centers in both Duluth and Superior. The group is looking for donations of cots, blankets and, sleeping bags. They are also hoping members of the community…

Organizations Shed Light On National Recovery Month

The month was started to bring awareness and celebrate those in recovery from substance abuse.

DULUTH, Minn. – September is National Recovery Month. Recovery is real from many people who have dealt with substance abuse and the Thunderbird Wren Halfway House and Recovery Alliance Duluth are making sure that the journey doesn’t go unrecognized. The halfway house has been a safe haven for native and indigenous people battling with their dependence on drugs and alcohol….

Iron Range Mayors Endorse U.S. Senate Candidate Jason Lewis

"Mining is the engine that runs our economy. We don't have a lot of adversity in the city of Virginia," said Larry Cuffe Jr., mayor of Virginia.

EVELETH, Minn. – More than five Iron Range mayors endorsed President Trump for re-election during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit on Friday. Some of those politicians sat down for a round table discussion with republican U. S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis to talk about key issues impacting the area. The Iron Range can be mostly known for its mining industry….

Keetac Mine to Remain Indefinitely Idled

KEEWATIN, Minn. – U.S. Steel’s Keetac mine remains indefinitely idled amid the coronavirus pandemic. In April, it was announced that layoffs would begin for employees who have been at the mine for three years or less. Of the roughly 380 workers that have been laid off since May, about 40 of them are still able to work on special projects…

Minntac to Restart Production Lines Next Month

DULUTH, Minn. – U.S. Steel says they plan to restart production lines at its Minntac mine as early as next month. United Steelworkers Local 1938 representatives confirmed on Tuesday that production lines 6 and 7 are expected to restart on July 27. Operations for the lines were originally planned to be stalled until August. Union reps also say maintenance workers…

Opponents File New Challenge to Proposed Twin Metals Mine

MINNEAPOLIS-Opponents of the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota are suing to challenge the federal government’s renewal of the company’s mineral rights leases. The groups behind the new challenge lost an earlier lawsuit that claimed the Trump administration overstepped its authority by reversing an Obama administration decision not to renew the leases. The new lawsuit, filed Wednesday in…

Layoffs Announced at Minntac

MT. IRON, Minn. – Layoffs are expected at Minntac in the coming weeks according to United Steelworkers Local 1938. Union leaders say U.S. Steel confirmed layoffs will begin on May 10 and are expected to last about eight weeks for plant employees and 11 weeks for pit employees. The layoffs will affect about 260 employees. Currently, Minntac employs about 1,300…

Hibbing Taconite To Lay Off 650 Employees

Hibbing Taconite will be idling its plant in the beginning of May and laying off 650 of its 750 employees.  This comes after Northshore Mining announced hundreds of layoffs in Babbitt and Silver Bay, and Keetac Mine announced hundreds of layoffs in Keewatin. Below is the press release from ArcelorMittal USA, which manages Hibbing Taconite: Due to the unprecedented and…

Update: US Steel to Idle Keewatin Taconite During Pandemic Slowdown

U.S. Steel Plans to Indefinitely Idle the Keewatin Taconite Plant

  HIBBING, Minn. (AP) — U.S. Steel plans to indefinitely idle the Keewatin Taconite plant in northern Minnesota because of the drop in demand for iron and steel during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Thursday. Officials said the closure will affect 75 employees “near term,” but a total of 375 employees will be affected over the next month. In a…

Cleveland-Cliffs To Idle Northshore Mining; 470 Employees Affected

The Northshore Mining Plant employees 570, only 100 remain employed.

SILVER BAY, Minn.- Cleveland-Cliffs has announced it is idling two of its iron ore plants, including Northshore Mining in Silver Bay, which will be shutting down by the middle of this month. This will affect roughly 470 employees, a significant number for a city like Silver Bay with a population of only 1,800. Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said they’ve evaluated…

Minnesota Supreme Court Agrees to Hear PolyMet Permit Appeal

(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File) ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to hear PolyMet Mining Inc.’s appeal of a ruling that canceled three permits needed for its proposed copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. In January, the Minnesota Court of Appeals gave environmentalists a major victory by rejecting some of the most important permits for the planned…

Minnesota Court of Appeals Sends PolyMet Permit Back to MPCA

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals sent an air-emissions permit for the PolyMet copper-nickel mine back to state regulators for further review on Monday, giving another victory to environmental groups who oppose the project. The appeals court found that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency did not adequately evaluate whether the air permit requested by PolyMet was…

Clean Water Advocates Applaud Halt of Key PolyMet Permits For Copper-Nickel Mine

DULUTH, Minn. – Environmentalists and advocates of clean water gathered in Duluth Monday to celebrate the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ ruling to put a halt on two crucial permits for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine near Hoyt Lakes. Leaders from WaterLegacy, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and even Duluth City Councilor Joel Sipress were among those praising…

Minnesota to Do State Review of Proposed Twin Metals Copper-Nickel Mine

MINNEAPOLIS-Minnesota officials say they will do a state environmental impact statement for a proposed copper-nickel mine upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Department of Natural Resources announced the move Friday, saying a credible and neutral assessment of the proposed Twin Metals mine depends upon both state and federal environmental reviews. Environmentalists have warned that the proposed mine…

U.S. Steel Eliminates a Number of Non-Union Positions at Minntac, Keetac

DULUTH, Minn. – Officials with U.S. Steel say they have eliminated a number of non-union positions at their Minntac and Keetac facilities. The company made the decision following the announcement of their new operating structure on October 8 as well as “challenging market conditions.” The company released a statement Friday afternoon saying in part: “This was a necessary step in…

Big Changes on Horizon for Soo Locks

DULUTH, MN – “The impact of the Soo Locks is felt nationwide,” Congressman, Pete Stauber says. That statement was the theme of today’s press conference where future improvement plans for the locks were announced. It’s not unusual for more than seventy thousand tons of iron ore to be carried on a vessel using the locks. That is not even the…

MN DNR Draws $1,000,000 From Metabi Metallics Funds for Permit Violations

DNR Says They Will Pursue Additional Actions as Necessary

NASHWAUK, Minn. – According to a recent press release, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has pulled $1,000,000 of financial assurance funds from Mesabi Metallics Company, LLC to address ongoing permit violations. The Minnesota DNR says companies must provide the DNR with financial assurance funds as part of obtaining a permit to mine which can be used to correct violations…

Democrats Call for Suspending PolyMet Permits

18 Lawmakers Sent a Letter to Walz Wednesday

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Democratic state lawmakers want Gov. Tim Walz to suspend permits for PolyMet’s proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota to make sure they “were not rigged.” In a letter to Walz Wednesday, 18 lawmakers led by Sen. John Marty asked the governor to suspend the permits and direct the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to cooperate with…