Less than a month into 2018 and already some major decisions impacting the iron mining industry and Iron Range communities have been made, setting a busy tone for the new year.
"2018, I’m hoping to continue to build on the successes of 2017."
Iron Mining Association (IMA) President, Kelsey Johnson, says those successes have set high hopes for the new year.
"I’d like to see all of the mines back and operational. We haven’t gotten back to full capacity with some of those mines and I’d like to see those mines come back online."
Illegally imported steel plays a role in that, according to Johnson, and pressuring the Trump administration to do something about it is a priority for IMA.
"I think that a lot of people don’t realize that 85 percent of domestic iron comes from iron mines in Minnesota. There’s only one other iron mine in the entire country and so when it comes to protecting our domestic iron and steel industry, it’s really about protecting northern Minnesota and northern Minnesota jobs," said Johnson.
Speaking of jobs, Johnson says the relationship between industry and education is a key issue moving into 2018.
"Working closely with the educational institutions of northeastern Minnesota to really make sure that we maximize our opportunity within the communities and also build on the educational opportunities that are already established."
Also on the agenda, innovation in our local mines.
"A lot of the facilities that are coming online globally they’re new, they’re brand spanking new and so when you’ve got a brand new facility versus what we’ve got it’s sometimes very difficult to compete."
As Johnson prepares for a busy 2018, she remains optimistic for the iron mining industry.
"All of the things you use everyday, that’s where iron goes. So it’s important that we protect those entities and those manufacturing jobs because at the end of the day that’s where the bread and butter of the nation’s economy comes from."
According to Johnson, there is still no word on when details about the investigation into foreign steel dumping will be released by the Trump administration.