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Taconite Mining: Technology, Taxes, & Tailings

Helpful Newspaper Resources

The Taconite Issue and Minnesota's Press, 1961.
Facsimiles of news items and editorials from Minnesota newspapers.
MNHS call number: HJ4169.T2

Suggested Newspapers & Dates

Newspapers:

  • Duluth Herald
  • Duluth News Tribune
  • Minneapolis Star -Tribune
  • St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch
  • Silver Bay News, 1956-1974
  • The Babbitt Weekly News
  • Virginia: Mesabi Daily News

Dates:

  • November 1919: Mesabi Iron Company produces "Mesabi Sinter" from taconite with high silica content.  
  • June 21, 1922: Mesabi Iron Company plant in Babbitt goes into commercial production.  
  • October 1, 1922: First cargo (taconite) shipped from Mesabi Iron Company.  
  • June 10, 1924: Mining operations cease at Mesabi Iron Company plant in Babbitt.  
  • 1939: Reserve Mining Company organizes, leasing Mesabi Iron Company property near Babbitt.  
  • April 23, 1941: Law passed to exclude taconite from ad valorem tax.  
  • December 1947: Permits for taconite tailings discharge are issued to Reserve by the Department of Conservation (Dec. 18) and the Water Pollution Control Comission (Dec. 22).  
  • July 1, 1948: Erie Mining Company begins operation of a pilot taconite plant located in Aurora.  
  • September 13, 1956: E.W. Davis attends inaugural celebration of Reserve Mining's E.W. Davis Works taconite plant in Silver Bay.  
  • November 3, 1964: Taconite Tax Amendment passed by Minnesota voters.  
  • January 16, 1969: Minneapolis Tribune runs front page story on the Stoddard Report's findings via a leak from the Department of the Interior to eh press.  Report claims tailings have led to pollution in Lake Superior, on-land tailings disposal recommended.  
  • April 1969: Stoddard Report is made public.  Department of the Interior claims it was only an internal memo, not official policy.  
  • August 1, 1973: United States of America vs. Reserve Mining Company trial opens at Minneapolis federal courthouse.  
  • April 21, 1974: Judge Lord delivers opinion: Reserve Mining was polluting Lake Superior with asbestos-like fibers--a health hazard to those living near the lake. Reserve enjoined to stop all discharge into the air or water as of 12:01 a.m. the next day.  
  • March 16, 1980: Reserve Mining company completes Milepost 7, on-land tailings disposal, halting disposal of tailings into Lake Superior.  

 

Newspapers

Newsboy distributing January 1937 Minneapolis Journal.

The Minnesota Historical Society holds the world's largest collection of Minnesota newspapers, with dates ranging from 1849 to the present day.

Past issues of most newspaper titles are available on microfilm in the MNHS library, but there is also digital access to select newspapers

Use the links to the left to search for newspapers available at MNHS and to search within digitized newspaper collections.   

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Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
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