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Tue Feb 9, 2021, 05:46 AM

The clash of two big steel companies will help shape the future of the Iron Range

The Mesabi range city of Hibbing owes its existence to the manufactured canyon that envelops its northern borders. This enormous iron ore mine built the original village, rebuilt an even bigger Hibbing after forcing it to move a century ago, and generated about three-quarters of U.S. iron ore for World Wars I and II. And itís still producing.

The Hull-Rust-Mahoning pit remains both Hibbingís greatest economic driver and most persistent challenge. Now, this behemoth runs headlong into an early 21st century problem.

For the 20 years Iíve reported on the Iron Range, well-informed people told me that Hibbing Taconite and Keewatin Taconite would eventually collide. Working off the same massive Mesabi iron formation, these mines have dug closer to one another each of many passing years. And while the two pits have not yet merged, the companies that run these properties have nevertheless reached an impasse.

Cleveland Cliffs is our North-Going Zax. Itís the majority owner of Hibbing Taconite. And this Zax needs ore. Officials estimate that about three more years of ore remain within the current reach of the mining company, a dire deadline for more than 500 local miners and affiliated workers.

Read more: https://minnesotareformer.com/2021/02/08/the-clash-of-two-big-steel-companies-could-decide-the-future-of-the-iron-range/

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