The Number: $573 million

That's how much money Minnesota businesses made exporting ores, slag and ash products in 2018 - almost all of that iron ore. Canada markedly increased its appetite for our tasty taconite, buying $416 million worth of ore last year, state figures show. That's double the 2017 levels of our exports north. That doesn't mean all that ore is getting consumed in Canada - it may just stop in Quebec before heading oceanward. In 2017 the Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported a "surge" in exports to steelmakers in China and Japan.

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The Word: "People starting businesses - I hope people continue to support that. It does so much; it lifts everything. Having gone through this now I realize how difficult it is and how much it can benefit towns like Duluth where you want to grow," said Wild State Cider co-founder Adam Ruhland, who found the complaints (Facebook comments) decrying Duluth as unfriendly for business to be unfounded or at least overblown. Run with that optimism this week, folks.

The Lead: There are two serious workplace injuries Minnesota OSHA is investigating in the Northland that have occurred since Oct. 1 last year (the start of the state's fiscal year). One worker was "caught by and dragged onto a machine table" in Mountain Iron last month; another employee at a different firm in Duluth had their legs "burned by molten metal," according to a summary from the Department of Labor and Industry. A speedy recovery to those involved.


The Listing: This spot puts the "trunk" in Miller Trunk Highway - there's a tree farm for sale along U.S. Highway 53 not far from the Duluth airport. "Property has been in conservation and is now available for sale for the first time in many years!" reads the listing, which says the highway-fronted land is zoned for high-density commercial. Yours for $2.4 million. No one says you have to cut down the trees, though.


The Meeting: Breaking barriers

Join T Leeper - UW-Superior's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Coordinator for Gender and Sexuality Programs - will speak at a Northland Human Resource Association event Thursday that looks to create a "more welcoming and supportive work environment for LGBTQ2+ identities." "Participants will gain knowledge of general terminology, discuss self-expression from various lenses, consider issues that impact marginalized sexual and gender identities and explore ways of better supporting the LGBTQ2+ community." It's from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn downtown Duluth; register at


The Memo is a weekly roundup of things to know, ya know? Send business news of all kinds to and give tasty taconite reporter Brooks Johnson a call every now and then at 218-723-5329.