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Worker injured, taconite plant ops temporarily halted

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Managers temporarily halted operations at the U.S. Steel Minntac Taconite plant in Mountain Iron Wednesday after a worker was badly injured in an accident.

Jon Malek, 52, of Tower, was hurt in a small explosion Wednesday morning while he was working on an electrical apparatus, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

He was airlifted to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, and his wife told the News Tribune later in the day that he was in a lot of pain but in stable condition. Malek is a 17-year veteran worker at the plant, the Hibbing News reported.

It was not immediately reported how long the plant suspended operations. The accident is under review, a U.S. Steel spokeswoman said.

Northland's Newscenter reports that the company released this statement after the accident on Wednesday:

"This morning at Minntac there was a serious electrical incident at a substation involving a represented employee. He has been transported to Duluth to receive medical attention. Due to privacy laws we cannot release additional information on the employee. Safety is a core value at U. S. Steel and the incident is under review in cooperation with regulatory authorities and the United Steelworkers. Operations have been suspended at this time."

Minntac is the largest plant on the state's Iron Range.

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