Central Range Mining

Wars Deplete Natural Ores, Mining Technology Changes

The vital importance of  Minnesota's iron ore resources was not in any way lessened by the depression of the 1930s. This was clearly shown as both the nation and the free world relied on Minnesota iron ore throughout World War II. In all, more than 338 million tons of Minnesota iron ore were shipped during the war years to make ships, tanks, guns and other steel armaments.

With the end of the war, the need for iron ore continued and even increased - 304 million tons were shipped from Minnesota during the five years following the war, and 344 million tons were shipped during the next five years, 1950-55. Some of this tonnage was used to meet the needs of the Korean War, but much of it helped to meet the great consumer demand which had built up during World War II - a demand for automobiles, new building, roads, home appliances and all the other items required by a rapidly growing nation.

From 1955 to 1960, a sharp decline in natural ore shipments resulted primarily from depletion of our better grades of natural ore. At the same time, steelmakers, seeking greater production, were getting more and more demanding about the quality of ore they were feeding into their blast furnaces. Also, worldwide exploration efforts, spurred by growing use of iron and steel, were beginning to turn up vast new sources of iron ore. Iron mining was entering a new phase.