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Minntac plant to raise production levels next month

“Good news for a change” is how John Malek described the word that U.S. Steel’s Minntac plant will be starting up two production lines by September. Malek is vice president of the Steelworkers Local 1938, which represents workers at Minntac, in Mountain Iron.

Restarting the two lines would mean four of the mine’s five lines would be active. Malek said he didn’t know exactly how many people this would bring back to work, “but I can tell you how many I hope it brings back — four hundred,” he said. “They’re calling back maintenance workers right now; there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in there.”

“We are continuing to adjust production levels in respect to demand,” said Erin DePietro, spokeswoman for U.S. Steel. DePietro said the company would not discuss employment levels.

The restarting is a bright spot in what has been a long, slow summer for Minnesota’s mining industry. “There’s a lot of young people who have been going without health care and without paychecks” because of the slowdown, Malek said. “We’re hoping we can get all these people back on track. It’s good news for a change.”

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