Boost in iron ore mine reserves may be start of quiet revolution

Jan 31, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Bill Beck

Tags  Essar Steel Minnesota, Mesabi Range, Madhu Vuppuluri, Bill Beck

A quiet revolution is sweeping through the global iron ore markets, kicked off in early 2012 when Essar Steel Minnesota LLC announced that its Nashwauk, Minn., taconite property on the Mesabi Range, about 100 miles west of Lake Superior, contained far more ore-bearing rock than it had previously believed.

Taconite is a low-grade iron ore that makes up the main feedstock for the blast furnaces operated by the U.S. integrated steel industry. Taconite rock is extracted from open-pit mines, crushed to the consistency of talcum powder in mammoth ball and grinding mills, rolled into marble-sized pellets and heated to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Once hardened, the pellets are shipped down the Great Lakes aboard bulk ore carriers to the steel mills.....

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