Steel: Resurgence in Bunyan Country

Northern Minnesota's lake-strewn hills are Paul Bunyan country. Their open-pit iron mines were originally scooped, as all followers of legend know, to provide suitable shoes for Babe, Bunyan's Big Blue Ox. In recent years, another Bunyan, or another Babe, seemed needed to save Minnesota's fading mining industry. After a century of use, the 110-mile, Z-shaped Mesabi Range (Chippewa Indian for "sleeping giant") began running out of the rich ore that once was the base for 60% of all U.S. iron and steel production. The grey taconite rock in which the remaining ore...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!