January 5, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Duluth, MN – U.S. Steel announced Dec. 29 that it will reopen the Keetac iron-ore mine and taconite-pellet plant in Keewatin, where about 400 workers were laid off when it closed in May 2015.
Company officials in Pittsburgh told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that they had reached agreements to supply iron-ore pellets to outside customers and hope to resume production in March. “This is exciting news. We were hoping to hear this,’’ said Cliff Tobey, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 2660, which represented 360 workers at the plant. But he added, “How many are still around or available or will come back, I don’t know. Some people may have moved on after this much time.” Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) said U.S. Steel executives told him about 200 workers would be rehired. Almost 2,000 workers in Minnesota’s Iron Range lost their jobs in 2014-15, as the industry reeled under competition from cheap imported steel, but two other mining and processing facilities have recently reopened. “The collective voice of American workers to combat illegal steel dumping is producing results,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Read more