US Steel promotes Minn. mining industry

The CEO of Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel announced a new initiative to promote the importance of iron ore mining in Minnesota at a speech in Minneapolis Wednesday.

U.S. Steel Chairman and CEO John Surma announced the new campaign at a speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota. The joint project with the United Steelworkers union is an effort to raise the industry's visibility.

"It is designed to make sure that everyone in Minnesota knows a little more about what we do, from an employment and economic standpoint, about how we do it, and about opportunities in mining and economic development for the state," Surma said.

Surma said the Minnesota iron ore industry plays a significant economic role in the state, but not enough people outside the Iron Range know about it.

"Mines in Minnesota produce about two-thirds of the iron ore used to make blast furnace produced steel in the U.S. today, and our Minnesota ore operations contribute about half that amount," Surma said.

U.S. Steel operates two taconite mines and pellet plants on the Iron Range that together employ over 1,800 people. Surma said he expects global demand for steel to grow slightly in 2013.

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