Skip to main content

Taconite production on Iron Range: 'Good this year; better next year'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Taconite production on Minnesota's Iron Range dipped by 2 percent in 2013, but experts think next year could bring the highest output in more than a decade.

A state revenue official tells the Duluth News Tribune production was steady or higher at five of the six major taconite plants in the state, with Cliffs Natural Resources' Northshore Mining the only exception. Mining amounts to one-third of the gross regional product on the Range, the newspaper reports, and the production tax on the industry supplied local governments and schools with more than $100 million last year.

The mines have recovered quickly from the bottom of the recession in 2009, which the News Tribune says was the industry's worst year in Minnesota. The executive director of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota tells the News Tribune the improvement here is tied to rebounds at the steel mills that supply the construction and auto industries.

In addition to the six established mines, Magnetation is becoming a bigger player with its process that pulls ore out of abandoned mines that were thought to be tapped out. That company plans to open its fourth plant at a site near Coleraine early in 2015.

In addition, Essar Steel plans to open the first new taconite mine on the Range since the 1970's. Essar was eyeing a late 2014 opening for the plant near Nashwauk, but the News Tribune says that's now been pushed back to 2015.

Taconite production peaked in Minnesota in 1979 when 54 million tons were shipped. The Revenue Department's Bob Wagstrom tells the News Tribune it may reach 40 million tons next year, which has not happened since 2000.

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.


2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.


Production is up at Minnesota's taconite plants

Output at the half-dozen taconite plants in the state is up more than ten percent compared to a year ago. And the forecast for next year suggests production could be the highest in more than a decade.