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Layoffs coming to Minntac mine in Mountain Iron

U.S. Steel mine is fourth of six on Iron Range to reduce workforce.

Minntac.jpg
Part of U.S. Steel's Minntac facility in Mountain Iron seen in 2015. (File / Forum News Service)

The U.S. Steel mine in Mountain Iron will lay off 260 workers on May 10 โ€” the latest iron ore mine and pellet processing plant to succumb to layoffs on the Iron Range.

In an online post to members Friday, United Steelworkers Local 138 in Virginia confirmed the workforce reduction at U.S. Steel's Minntac mine, saying they were told it would last approximately eight weeks for plant employees and 11 for pit employees.

"This has all come very quickly and we are speculating that the full detail was not finalized until the Stelco deal was secured in the last few days," leadership said in the announcement. "We just wanted to be able to put this out to our members before it came out on the news tonight."

U.S. Steel on Thursday announced it granted Stelco the option to buy a 25% stake in its Minntac mine and pellet processing plant in Mountain Iron.

Demand for steel plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expected layoffs will total roughly 1,760 workers โ€” 470 at Cleveland-Cliffs' Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay, 375 at U.S. Steel's Keetac in Keewatin, and 650 at Arcelor-Mittal's Hibbing Taconite in Hibbing. It's more than one-third of the approximately 4,000 total jobs on the Iron Range's six mines.

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"We are currently working with management to develop a layoff minimization plan, hopefully including voluntary layoffs and contractor elimination," leadership told USW workers.

U.S. Steel has not yet responded for comment.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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