Posts Tagged ‘taconite industry’

Public meeting scheduled to discuss findings of Minnesota taconite mine mesothelioma study

26 Mar 2013 by under Events, News, Research/Treatment

minnesota iron range 100x100 Public meeting scheduled to discuss findings of Minnesota taconite mine mesothelioma studyA public meeting has been scheduled for April 12, 2013, to discuss findings of the Minnesota Taconite Workers Health Study. The study was established to determine the causes of an unusually high number of cases of mesothelioma among mine workers. (more…)


Minnesota examines taconite meso danger

12 Jun 2008 by under News

In its last legislative session, Minnesota approved $4.9 million for research into the mesothelioma epidemic among its Iron Range workers. To date, 58 people have died of mesothelioma. Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the bill, which funds a five-year study of the mining industry and the mineral’s asbestos-like properties as a likely cause for the extremely high rate of mesothelioma among workers.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that researchers and politicians will meet today to discuss progress in establishing the study. According to the report, the University of Minnesota is assessing the health of active and retired miners, reviewing death certificates, and delving into the 58 deaths from mesothelioma. The Natural Resources Research Institute is analyzing iron ore samples and dust in the air in Iron Range communities, to see how closely they match asbestos dust, says MPR.

According to the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota web site, the industry’s six iron mining and processing operations produce two-thirds of the iron ore used to make steel in the United States. Combined, they represent a $4 billion capital investment and employ nearly 4,000 men and women. These companies contribute over $1.5 billion each year to the state’s economy in the form of purchases, wages and benefits, royalties and taxes.These companies contribute over $1.5 billion each year to the state’s economy in the form of purchases, wages and benefits, royalties and taxes.

Taconite is an extremely hard rock that contains about 25 percent iron, according to an IMA fact sheet. It is found on the Mesabi Range in northeastern Minnesota, which extends 110 miles in a southwesterly direction. After World War II, when natural high-quality iron ore deposits were beginning to be depleted, two companies began making major investments in taconite, and began producing pellets in 1956 and 1957, and a decade later taconite was in production in all of the area’s six mines.

To date, Minnesota mines have produced more than 1.2 billion tons of taconite pellets, IMA reports.

Information about taconite on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web site says “taconite saved Minnesota’s iron ore mining industry.”

How heartbreaking that Minnesotans are only now finding out the cost.


Minnesota proposes $4.6 million Meso study

6 Mar 2008 by under News, Organizations, Research/Treatment

I mentioned in my last post that a research partnership in Minnesota is using part of a $6 million grant for research. That was announced yesterday.

This morning, WorkDay Minnesota published a series of stories about another quest for mesothelioma research in the state. Unrelated to the first grant, a Minnesota House of Representatives committee has approved legislation to allocate $4.9 million – to come from the state’s worker’s compensation special fund in fiscal year 2008 – for a special study of Iron Range mine workers’ deaths due to mesothelioma.

Inforum News writer reported today that the Minnesota Health Department in 2007 linked the deaths of 58 mining industry workers to mesothelioma. The University of Minnesota plans four studies related to the mesothelioma cases and other health issues for taconite industry employees and communities, according to the Inforum News story. Data points to an abnormally high rate of the cancer among the mine workers.

WorkDay Minnesota reports that in 2007, the state Department of Health announced that 35 miners, in addition to 17 previously identified, had died from mesothelioma. The number currently stands at 58 mesothelioma deaths.

The legislation for the funding must go through another House committee before getting to the floor, and the Senate has not yet held a hearing on the bill. If approved, the funding would direct the University of Minnesota to initiate a study this year and complete work by 2013.

The university’s School of Public Health will spearhead the project and already has set up a toll-free nurse helpline for questions on taconite worker lung health (1-888-840-7590) and launched a special website.

In the meantime, WorkDay Minnesota says that Friday the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration issued new rules that increase protections for miners who may be exposed to asbestos.