Minntac investigating mine structure collapse, no injuries
UPDATE: According to union president Steve Bonach with United Steelworkers 1938, the structure was already weakened before its complete collapse.
The collapse has halted production on three of the mine’s five lines.
According to Bonach, supply chain issues have reduced the amount they’re able to export, so they’re optimistic it won’t cause a dent.
“It’s not really impacting any customer obviously because there’s no shipping, but [we] are filling docks up,” he said.
While he couldn’t guarantee anything, he said Minntac is hoping to avoid layoffs
“The answer is no layoffs as of now all I believe,” Bonach said.
Investigators still have not determined a cause and Bonach doesn’t believe they will any time soon.
“It’s still in being investigated. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to see the total failure. It’s almost going to be like an airplane that crashes, they have to put pieces together. It’s really going be a big job to get this home because it’s also laid on top of the pile,” he said.
Currently, the mine hopes to install temporary repairs by the end of February or beginning of March.
Once the weather warms up, they’ll focus on a more permanent solution, but hope to have production back to normal by April.
MOUNTAIN IRON, MN-- Minntac is investigating following a structural failure that led to a collapse at their Mountain Iron, Minnesota mine.
Photos of the scene show a conveyor system collapsed on a pile of taconite pellets.
According to Minntac officals, the were no injuries as a result of the collapse and they are not anticipating an impact to customers or the supply chain.
“Today at Minntac we had a structural failure on the conveyor system. We are investigating the cause and developing plans for repair. The area was cordoned off at the time of the incident, so there was no one in the area. There was no danger to personnel at any time, and there were no injuries. At this time, we do not anticipate impact to our customers or supply chain,” said Amanda Malkowski, with United States Steel.
Local USW leaders say it’s too early to tell if there will be impacts to production or on jobs, but they will be a part of the investigation.
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