MagIron to make DR grade iron ore products from waste tailings

NRRI research to identify and confirm major ore recovery improvements from waste taconite moves industry forward

Research to help Minnesota’s Iron Range remain relevant through economic change has long been an important focus for NRRI. And that research focus is paying off as MagIron, LLC moves ahead with processing iron-bearing stockpiles into direct-reduced grade iron ore concentrates for steelmaking.

MagIron CEO Larry Lehtinen announced that the company has been awarded a mineral lease to process state-owned taconite pellet tailings within the Canisteo area in Itasca County near MagIron’s Plant 4 iron ore concentrator. These stockpiles, once considered waste materials from decades of historical mining operations, will produce high quality iron units.

“Our ongoing work with the Natural Resources Research Institute in Coleraine is particularly promising as we are identifying and confirming major recovery improvements that will be part of the new and improved Plant 4 operations,” said Lehtinen. “Our goal is to produce DR grade iron ore concentrates to feed the burgeoning electric arc furnace market while striving to decarbonize the global steel industry.”

The mineral lease covers 286 acres with a term of 20 years. MagIron plans to reprocess millions of tonnes of the into high quality, low carbon iron units. Plant 4 has previously operated at an annualized run-rate of approximately 2 million tons per year, with the capacity to expand to 3 million tonnes.

“Supporting economic development and sustainable use of Minnesota’s natural resources is at the core of our mission,” said Kevin Kangas, director of NRRI’s Coleraine Labs. “NRRI’s research team values its role in delivering sound science that supports industrial growth and improved environmental outcomes.” 

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment and economy for a sustainable and resilient future.