A rebounding taconite mining industry is helping the bottom line at Duluth-based electric provider Minnesota Power.
Minnesota Power's parent company Allete is announcing net income of $19.4 million in this year's second quarter - more than twice the income reported the same quarter a year ago. According to Allete CFO Mark Schober, electric sales to industrial customers increased 98 percent.
"Last year's sales were impacted by a dramatic downturn in production levels from our taconite mining customers," Schober said.
Taconite mines are a significant business for the Duluth utility. Allete CEO Alan Hodnik said blast furnace usage and other indicators point to a strong taconite industry in the short term.
"We're encouraged where they are today," Hodnik said. "We're encouraged with their nominations here for the next four months."
Hodnik would not speculate on the industry's fates beyond that period.