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Lake County Past: Nov. 17


Good iron ore may be gone in 6 years

The supply of easily obtainable high-grade iron ore from the Lake Superior district, for a half-century the mainstay of the American steel industry, will be exhausted within six years.

This poses immediate problems for the government and for the steel industry.

In addition to its fading reserve of high-grade ores, the Lake Superior area has tremendous quantities of low-grade ore, or taconite. It is difficult and expensive to mine. It yields only 25 percent to 35 percent iron content, compared with 50 percent obtained from the better ores.

If taconite is to be used, a long period of experimentation and development lies ahead. The six-year breathing spell is none too long.

Right now, the War Production Board (WPB) has under consideration a program to begin developing this taconite. It is studying plans for a $75 million pilot plant designed to extract a million tons of low-grade ore a year from the Mesabi Range, the heart of the Lake Superior district.

WPD's decision will represent a gamble on whether this country faces a long or short war.

About two years would be required to get into production of taconite, it is estimated. Another year would be necessary to determine whether such mining was economically wise. That would leave barely enough time to expand this low-grade ore production to a broad scale before the high-grade ore is gone.


Rink plans rejected

The Lake County School Board rejected the plan of the city to use the Minnehaha and John A. Johnson school grounds for skating rinks and to use the basements for warming house purposes. The committee on public affairs recommended that a trailer house could be had, and with very little expense, it could be repaired to serve the purpose for the duration.

The plan under consideration now is to use the municipal skating rink and to improve a house trailer for a warming house, in place of the one now occupied by the Minnesota State Guard.

Local man ends service on DM&IR

Peter Sande recently reached his retirement from active service with the DM&IR railroad in Two Harbors, and in latter years at Proctor, after having spent 50 years with the company.

At the time of his retirement, he was lead stockman at the diesel house at Proctor.

His career with the railroad began in 1918, when he started painting ore cars during the summer program at age 15. He went to work on a fulltime basis in 1919 and had been employed continuously since that time except for a brief layoff period.

He was foreman at the Two Harbors storehouse for many years until his transfer to Proctor when facilities in Two Harbors were terminated.