May 5, 2014 at 10:12 am
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) — There's money in the waste rock piles and tailings basins that litter northern Minnesota's Iron Range.
The Magnetation company is leading a resurgence in mining on the western end of the Range between Grand Rapids and Hibbing. Magnetation is building its fourth plant, near Grand Rapids. When the plant opens in January it will tap two nearby tailings basins that U.S. Steel left behind in the 1980s, and use a magnetic separation process to extract the remaining iron from the waste.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that Magnetation is part of a growing trend to recover iron and other minerals from old copper, zinc and iron mining sites to take advantage of rising metal prices.
Magnetation says there's enough waste material and leftover ore to supply it for a century.