The U.S. Steel has announced earlier this week that Keetac Mine will be reopened after being closed for more than 19 months.
The United States Steel Corporation is an integrated steel producer. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania it has major production operations across the United States, Central Europe, and Canada.
But one of that company’s mines has been facing difficulties. Their Keetac mine has been closed for over 19 months. Keetac stands for the U.S. Keewatin Taconite Mine and Plant.
The such-called industrial area is located in Northern Minnesota. Their Mesabi Iron Range utilities include two plants. These are the Keewatin Taconite Plant and the Minntac Plant in Mt. Iron.
Both the Keetac mine and the Minntac plant produce taconite pellets. These are based on taconite rock, an iron-bearer. Taconite rock is extracted and then processed in the aforementioned plants.
Back in 2015 Keetac mine was shut down. Just as North Shore Mining and United Taconite, it was a victim of the taconite pellets price fall.
At the time, the taconite market was affected by a number of factors. One was a supply overflow. Another was the large quantity of imported taconite pellets. As such, this led to a decreasing demand for domestically produced goods.
The reduced steel prices led to a number of shuttered plants. This was especially difficult in Keewatin. Besides the Keetac mine temporal closing, Magnetation also closed down a plant.
But the situation is set to change. Earlier this week, on Thursday, U.S. Steel made a long-expected announcement.
Keetac mine will be officially reopening, starting with 2017. This will come after more than 19 months since it was closed down.
According to the first released details, employee callbacks will be initiated in early January. Estimates approximate an initial number of about 200 workers. At its closing in May 2015, Keetac mine had more than 400 employees.
If the timeline is followed, Keetac mine production should begin by March 2017.
The Keetac Steelworker Union was also announced on Thursday afternoon. It includes about 360 workers. The plant’s 50 managers were also notified about the reopening.
About a dozen workers have been keeping up the Keetac mine. They made sure that the machines are still in working condition.
Other former employees have taken temporary jobs at other U.S. Steel utilities. The closest available one is Mt. Iron in Minntac. But other company utilities were targeted as well.
Cliff Tobey, the United Steelworkers of America 2660 President, offered details. According to him, many Keetac Steelworkers have been unemployed. They have been without a job for more than 19 months since the mine closed.
As such, the recent news is very exciting. Tobey pointed out everyone’s hope that such news might come. Tobey stated that union callback details have yet to be offered. As it is, the exact number of future workers is still unknown.
Rick Nolan, a U.S. Rep., offered details on the matter. According to him, U.S. Steel executives conversations hinted at about 200 initial jobs. This is the estimated number needed in order to get the plant up and running. It remains to be seen if the rest of the workers will also be called back.
The company also did not offer sale details either. As of yet, U.S. Steel announced that it will reopen the Keetac mine taconite iron ore processing center. Its taconite pellets will reportedly be sold to a third party.
The company’s Pittsburgh officials stated as follows. They declared to have reached an iron ore pellet supply agreement with a third-party customer. As such, they will be adjusting the pellet production. These business opportunities will be taken full advantage off.
Initial declarations pointed out the former U.S. Steel Canadian mine as the beneficiary. However, no further comments were offered as of yet.
Company representatives declined to offer other information. Potential business relationships with other third-party pellet sale operations will not be detailed.
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