As it plays such an integral role in the economy and lifestyle of the Northland, it's no wonder that a lot of attention is given to the latest mining news.  So - what is the overall mining climate in our region?

The St. Louis County Board recently received their annual report from the Mine Inspector Derek Harbin.  This report is required by state statute and has been produced every year for more than a century.

According to the report, mining activity was up in 2018 - showing a slight increase in production and the number of people employed by mining companies.  At the same time, the report demonstrated that 2018 was the safest year ever in terms of injuries to workers.

St. Louis County has released the following "snapshot" statistics concerning the mining industry in 2018:

  • 40,986, 054 total tons of taconite products were shipped
  • 6 mines were in operation
  • 3,954 people were employed in those mines
  • 8,415, 781 total hours were clocked by employees
  • 0 fatal accidents occurred
  • 14 serious injuries that resulted in lost time were reported

Compare these current numbers (2018) to some historical ones from the past:

  • Between 1905-1910, an average of 73 people a year died in mining accidents in St. Louis County
  • The 14 reported injuries represents a tie for the second lowest number ever
  • There have been no mining fatalities in St. Louis County since 2007

The St. Louis County Mine Inspector is tasked with checking active mining properties at least once every 90 days - according to state statutes.  The position is also responsible for conducting accident investigations as needed, and is charged with inspecting the fencing at all 285 inactive mines annually.