Central Range Mining

Milestones Affecting the Iron Mining Industry in the Central Iron Range

1884   First shipment of iron ore from  Minnesota's Vermilion Range
1890   Iron ore discovered at Mountain Iron,  Minnesota, opening Mesabi Range
First shipment from Mountain Iron Mine
1910First installation to improve iron ore by washing built at Coleraine, Minnesota
1922Plant to concentrate low-grade magnetic taconite on commercial scale built at  Babbitt, Minnesota, proves economically unsuccessful
1941Minnesota adopts taconite tax law to encourage development of low-grade deposits.

Depletion of natural ore deposits in Lake Superior district in the following years pressed industry to seek feasible techniques for using lean taconite ores, and stimulated exploration for new deposits.
1954-1956Two commercial-scale taconite mining and processing operations built and producing pellets in Minnesota
1964"Taconite Amendment" to Minnesota constitution pledges fair taxation of taconite industry, spurs additional investment
1974Minnesota taconite industry begins expansion to 65,000,000 tons annual pellet production capability
1980Declining domestic steel production and worldwide overdevelopment of steelmaking facilities and iron ore resources shock North American mining industry, beginning a period of uncertainty for Minnesota taconite

Minnesota's Iron Mining Industry courtesy of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota.