A company that recycles taconite mining waste into iron ore concentrate has been fined $40 thousand dollars for violating the state's dust emission rules.
Magnetation opened its Keewatin plant on the Iron Range in 2009. It began periodically violating Minnesota's airborne dust rule within three months. Area residents complained to police, and in 2010 the company began working with the Pollution Control Agency to mitigate the problem. But in late 2011 the company was still exceeding allowable dust levels.
In addition to the fine, the company must submit a blueprint for eliminating future dust emissions, said MPCA spokeswoman Anne Moore.
"That plan would also have to be approved by our agency, then they have to implement that plan," Moore said.
Magnetation President Matt Lehtinen said the company has spent well over a quarter-million dollars on the issue and did not have any dust violations this winter.
"With our business being a first of its kind, there's no manual if you will, so part of the issue was really a learning curve associated with this brand new segment of mining that we're in," Lehtinen said.