Iron Ore Being Taken from an Open Pit Mine, Hibbing, Minn.
IRON ORE BEING TAKEN FROM AN OPEN-PIT MINE, HIBBING, MINN.: This steam shovel is scooping up iron ore in an open-put mine in the Mesaba Range in Minnesota. This is the most valuable iron region known in the world. Most iron is hard rock and must be blasted. It must also be mined underground. But in this unusual mountain range the iron ore is so near the surface and so soft that it can be mined with steam shovels such as you see in this picture. This shovel is cutting a trench several yards wide. It is loading the ore it removes into those cars near by. This shovel can load one of those cars in about three minutes. Each year the Mesaba Range mines furnish one-third of the world's supply of iron. The Mesaba, The Vermilion, and Cuyuna Ranges, all in northern Minnesota, enable the United States to lead the world in iron and steel industries.
At one time all the iron ore from this district was shipped to the eastern coal fields. This was economical because it takes two tons of coal to smelt every ton of ore. However, instead of allowing the ore boats to return empty they were finally used to bring back coal so that some of the smelting could be done in the iron districts.
Iron and steel, which is a form of iron, are so necessary to us today that if all iron suddenly disappeared we would have to live almost as savages do. Our tools, machinery, screws, nails, ships, engines, automobiles, car tracks, frame work for large buildings, stoves, and many other things are made wholly or partly of this important and valuable metal.
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