Employment strong in Minn. iron mining industry 19 Jul 12

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s mining industry has rebounded in the last year, generating its highest employment and wages in more than a decade.

Figures from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show an average of nearly 4,300 direct mining jobs in 2011. That’s an increase of nearly 11 percent compared to the year before. And, it’s a clear recovery from 2009 when all six of Minnesota’s taconite plants temporarily shut down. The global recession hit hard in the steel and iron mining industries.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the six taconite plants produced nearly 39 million tons last year, up from 35 million in 2010. Production this year is expected to reach 40 million tons, the highest level since 2000. Wages in 2011 totaled $357 million, the highest since 2000 when adjusted for inflation.

Information from: Duluth News Tribune, http://www.duluthsuperior.com