US Steel to idle another Iron Range plant – meaning 680 temporary layoffs


Almost 700 more workers are set to be laid off in Minnesota's Iron Range as U.S. Steel plans to idle another iron ore plant in June, as a result of the downturn in the industry.

The Associated Press reports the company will idle part of its Minntac taconite plant in Mountain Iron, near Virginia, from June 1, which is expected to result in 680 workers being laid off.

Company spokeswoman Courtney Boone told the AP the layoffs will be temporary, but can't speculate on when they'll be taken back on.

Earlier this month, U.S. Steel announced it will be idling its Keetac plant in Keewatin, about 30 miles away from the Minntac plant, causing 412 workers to be furloughed.

It comes as the country's steel industry is experiencing a major slump, with the Duluth News Tribune reporting U.S. Steel blames an "oversupply of iron ore and continued low demand for American-made steel."

Domestic producers are facing serious competition from foreign companies who are able to export steel made with cheaper iron ore.

"These ongoing operational adjustments are a result of challenging market conditions that reflect the cyclical nature of the industry," the company said in a statement. "Global influences in the market, including a high level of imports, unfairly traded products and reduced steel prices, continue to have an impact."

New taconite mine set open – at the wrong time?

The struggles facing the steel industry comes as the end nears for a nine-year long saga to build the first modern taconite operation in Minnesota.

MPR reports after years of struggles getting the project off the ground, market conditions have dampened enthusiasm for the $2 billion Essar Steel project, which is set for its ribbon cutting this summer.

Iron Range leaders are said to be anxious for a rebound in the industry, but Essar Steel Minnesota CEO Madhu Vuppuluri is more confident, telling the news station there will be a growing demand for steel as North America replaces its aging infrastructure, such as airports and bridges.

Next Up

moorhead police

Police searching for man charged with kidnapping woman at gunpoint

The man approached the victim's car and pointed a gun at her, the charges state.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Teachers union calls for 'bold' plan to get kids vaccinated against COVID

"All options should be on the table," Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, said.


Madden's has banner summer with surge of visitors to Gull Lake

The resort was named the No. 1 resort in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

denny dempsey

Burnsville priest identified as bicyclist killed in Rosemount

The church says he was doing what he loved: riding his bike.

Matt Dumba

Wild open road trip with win over Canucks

At 5-1, only the St. Louis Blues (5-0) are off to a better start in the Western Conference than the Wild.

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.


COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.