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Minntac Passes Two-Billion-Ton Milestone


The Minntac Mining Operations of United States Steel LLC passed a major milestone recently when it mined its two-billionth ton of material. The total includes nearly 1.3 billion tons of crude ore and approximately 416 million tons of waste rock and 296 million tons of overburden.

Minntac became the nation's first iron ore mining operation to reach this production landmark when one of the mine's 35-cubic-yard shovels loaded rock onto a 240-ton production truck at 2:06 a.m., Saturday, October 6. The load was then taken to the Minntac Coarse Crusher where it was ground into gravel-sized chunks to be used in the taconite process.

"This symbolic milestone reflects the hard work, innovation and dedication of thousands of Minntac employees over the past half century," said Minntac General Manager Jim Swearingen. "It also reflects U. S. Steel's continuing commitments to the Minnesota Iron Range and Minntac, where the company has invested more than $200 million during the past five years to enhance our operations and make Minntac more competitive in terms of product quality and efficiency.

"We mined our two-billionth ton 50 years after U. S. Steel broke ground for the Pilotac mine, the forerunner of Minntac, and only 15 years after we passed the one-billion-ton mark in May 1986. We're looking forward to reaching the next billion-ton plateau."

On October 2, 1967, Minntac began processing taconite into pellets used in blast furnaces to make the molten iron used in making steel, including high value grades for the automotive, appliance, construction and other industries. When it first began making taconite pellets, Minntac had a rated annual capacity of 4.5 million tons. U. S. Steel has since nearly quadrupled that capacity and, to date, Minntac has processed a total of 374 million tons of taconite pellets.

U. S. Steel's Minntac iron ore operations at Mountain Iron employ approximately 1,600 workers and produce about 16.4 million tons of taconite pellets annually. Minntac, North America's largest taconite pellet producer, covers nearly 40,000 acres, including a mine that stretches 12 miles along the Mesabi Range.

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SOURCE: United States Steel LLC

Contact: Tom Ferrall, +1-412-433-6899, or Mike Dixon, +1-412-433-6860,
or John Armstrong, +1-412-433-6792, all of United States Steel



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