Minnesota’s iron ore production rose in 2012

January 1, 2013 by  

The production of iron ore in Minnesota rose slightly in 2012, constituting a third annual increase consecutively – another indicator of the industry’s successful recovery from the economic downturn.

Recently released state data confirmed that the output of taconite was up almost 1% against figures from 2011 – a climb of more than 39 million tons.

Conversely, the country’s iron mining industry will likely face challenges this year – despite the rallying of global prices for iron ore in recent weeks – with a 5% drop in production predicted.

Minnesota Iron Mining Association’s president, Craig Pagel, said that getting past talk of the fiscal cliff and pushing for economic recovery will only serve to strengthen the industry’s presence in Minnesota. The trade group is based in Duluth, which is a couple of hours’ drive from St. Cloud. Trade groups often publicise industry announcements and news using flyer printing.

Although the state’s Revenue Department has forecast a drop in the output of iron ore in 2013 – down to just over 37 million tons – the figure is still twice the volume of output figures from 2009.

Bob Wagstrom, who is an engineering specialist based in Eveleth and works on the Revenue Department’s figure for taconite, said the projection for this year stems largely from Cliffs Natural Resources’ recent announcement of cuts to production at both its Silver Bay plant and its Babbitt mine.

Craig Pagel said that the iron ore industry has been bolstered largely by the revived strength of the United States’ auto industry, as well as increases in the production of steel pipes for the country’s gas and oil industry.