Taconite: "iron Country: Iron Ore And Minnesota's Future" 1952 Lake Superior Industrial Bureau

This is State Fair time Minnesota State Fair time and the high point of the year for most of us yes folks are here from all over the state towns and villages from cities and health people from all walks of life meet here together on common ground friendly happy relaxed in the enjoyment of their own State Fair just who.

Are all these folks for those from the city in the country the north the south who are the farm the butcher the grocers the baker the men from the factories from the stores from the mill from the mines along the.

Great Minnesota Iron Range it’s hard to tell the day is filled with excitement the judging.

Of cattle and hog sheep and horses pickles and jam and thrills and Flay but it is not all while the people of Minnesota are thinking and many of the attractions at the fair cause them to think about the.

Things that take place in the state in which they live here are displays and exhibits which present vivid pictures of what the state’s fertile lands forested uplands minerals and other.

Natural resources coupled with Commerce and Industry have done to make Minnesota great agriculture livestock and dairy farming lumber and wood.

Products printing and publishing flour and feed milling transportation manufacturing of many kinds and iron mining are among the leading industries which have changed this once prairie and forest wilderness.

Into the progressive forward-looking state that is Minnesota today but soon the.

Cotton candy the peanuts and popcorn the soda pop and lime aids are forgotten more substantial fare draws.

The visitors to the great dining halls that dr.

Farrakhan in each dining hall little groups come together.

Strangers all in a sense but brought into friendly relationship under the spell of the State Fair.

Let’s meet some of these friendly people look in on them as they find happiness and enjoyment they here’s Joe Williams his wife Hannah and Joe jr.
and little Betsy they’re bent on a fine hoppin Joe is a.

Bookkeeper and the last thing he’s thinking of is that pile of Ledger’s awaiting him at the office man send all our weight on and forty pound.

Danny came Amish granddad this is Edie Jones with his wife and son Billy real holiday farad and his family the factory where it worked is completely forgotten for the day Don sturgeons is a salesman for the milling company and a good one but right now he can’t sell his daughter the idea that candy is to be easy not rubbed on his neck and here.
Are the piece they’re farmers Carl Peterson owns a farm in southern.

Minnesota dairy cattle and brother Fred.

Is a mining engineer he’s worked in iron ore mines all his life and over the years.

He has watched the changes the new developments and new processes have made on the Minnesota Iron Range iron ore holds as much.

Interest for him as bumper wheat crops Oh Billy what have you done oh it’s just some stuff out of that box there on earth is this that’s iron ore made from.

Taconite contains between 60 and 65 percent iron this what you dig out of the ground on the range well yes and no you see it’s like this 65 percent iron seems to me that’s pretty rich digging we.

Don’t actually dig this or we concentrated from hard rock takes a long and expensive process to make it this rich I’ve heard that the.

Mining companies are getting up once the good.

Ore is gone well I don’t think the companies are going to pull out yet but what future do you see in Minnesota mining nowadays all that or they found in Labrador and South America’s Bonner our mining industry isn’t it couldn’t get me on a range working summer layoff fall winter nah too rough that’s right isn’t it now wait a minute not so fast.

Sure a lot of people have a lot of questions in their minds about iron mining people are naturally interested in the iron range what goes on up there what it contributes to the whole state but many of the questions are a result of what somebody told somebody else all the questions have.

Answers answers based on the knowledge and understanding of what’s going on up there on.

The range today to make the industry bigger than ever if you could visit the range you’d see why iron ore mining is one of the biggest industries in Minnesota and of first importance to the nation an industry that contributes millions of dollars to payrolls purchases and taxes every community in the state benefits in one.

Way or another the iron ore mining industry means jobs for thousands of people in Minnesota about 15,000 people earning more than 50 millions of payroll dollars every year that supports a lot of other folks druggist doctors lawyers grocers butchers small retail stores of every kind more than a quarter of a million people in northeastern Minnesota are directly or indirectly supported by the mining industry think of it everywhere you.

Look you can see for yourself why the mining industry must plan for years and years ahead you can see it in the Great Hall rust mahoning open-pit the largest of all the iron mines mining iron ore and the open pit seems like an easy job but it.

Isn’t as easy as it appears to be open pit mining involves a lot of big machines to dig and process the or railways and ships to transport it to the nation’s steel mills and the working together of thousands of people stretched over a thousand miles and the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to get the iron ore to the steel furnaces yes there was a time when.

The Mesabi Range held good pockets of iron ore those pockets of high-grade ore were like small raisins tucked away in a great pudding of iron bearing Rock the high-grade ore represents less than 5% the my novel portion of the rock formation that contains iron but no matter how.

Much ore was dug out of the ground there was always a need for more and then after 50 years of mining and two world wars something happened on the old Mesabi Range the shovels were beginning to scrape bottom and before long the.

Word spread fast that the digging was running out great deposits of good iron ore in Minnesota were fading away and that good or billions of tons of it was to be had in foreign countries and even in other parts of the United States the companies were going to quit Minnesota Iron Range was all washed up yes sir that’s what a lot of people thought what those people.

Didn’t think about was this for many years mining experts have considered that the end of Minnesota’s high-grade direct shipping ores would.

Come someday unless ways could be found to use the tremendous quantities of low-grade ores but I understand.

There are still several hundred million tons of that high-grade ore left in the ground how about that you see here mr. Williams even take the children over to the Midway for.

A while but if the mining companies use only high-grade ore there wouldn’t be any great future in Minnesota iron mining but they are out to keep the.

Minnesota Iron Range in business a bigger and better business and we’ve ever thought of for generations to come now here’s what I mean now in addition to the good iron ore you are talking about which contains about 51 and a half percent.

Iron there are hundreds of millions of tons of low-grade ore or which miners call lien wash or intermediate with a much lower percentage of iron and a.

Street gray rock called taconite which is nature’s original iron bearing rock containing as little as 25% iron it’s all these ores together plus the great advances in mechanical methods.

Of mining and metallurgy and more millions of dollars for experimentation and new processing plants that hold the future of Minnesota mining secure you make it sound like a complicated operation just to scoop it out of the ground all mining is a complicated and costly operation even an open.

Pit mine which seems so simple for instance when you see a Papa land pine forest up on the range you could be seeing an iron mine but you’d never know it until you did.

A lot of exploring you first have to drill down to find out if there’s.

Or beneath the surface you may have to put down a hundred holes or more and if you’re lucky enough.

Plan how it can be mined then roads have to be built through the forest to bring in the equipment some of the machines weight 20 tons and better.

There are deep layers of sand rock and clay that covered the iron ore all this must be stripped away miners call this waste material overburden in some open pit operations this.

Waste material as deep as a 30-story building must be removed before you get at the ore and that’s only part of what makes mining an expensive business.

Now you said something about no work in winter actually there’s a lot of work done in the wintertime for instance stripping clearing away the waste it.

Goes on all winter and most big repair jobs.

On the big equipment are made during the winter and underground mining goes on throughout the whole year never stops and here’s a point to remember the costs of producing underground or are large.

So large that only the highest grade ores may be mined by this method underground mining is a big job complicated job an underground mine reaches in many directions with a network of tunnels called drifts the ore is scraped from the drifts into cars carried.

By an underground railroad to a skip hoist which lifts it to the surface does that sound like they’re busy only in summer no.

Sir there are more operations starting up all the time the way they’re operating today that.

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