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    Hidden from the view of most Americans for over 100 years are the realities of industry that make modern American life possible.

    If it can't be grown, it has to be mined.

    Here's a photo of our group in front of the giant dump truck.

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    2.6 MB11:16, 14 Jul 2011jcookActions
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    The Cliffs Iron Mine operates 2 mines in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The process is a difficult and dirty job that is also very capital intensive. Enormous dump trucks at the price of $3-5 million work round the clock to extract low grade ore from deposits loosened by explosive charges. This low grade iron ore is processed to create taconite, a product that is roughly 60% iron. Safety tops the agenda at this plant where they have gone 1248 days with out an accident. At the end of the day however, iron is king!
    Posted 15:44, 21 Jun 2011
    The museum of iron's past, present and future allows for an in-depth study of the material that shaped and changed the way of life for the inhabitants of the upper peninsula from the early to mid 1800's to the present. Beginning with an informational video one sees the impact of iron on the region and is then invited to view a semi-interactive Series of exhibits that display information as well as artifacts of the period.
    Posted 15:46, 21 Jun 2011
    The museum of Iron's history in Michigan has a wonderful timeline reflecting on Michingan's past, present, and future. It has mining relics and you are able to tour an actual mine. You can view a sample of the products made from the iron in Michigan.

    The Cliff's Company operates in the Upper Peninsula. It is operating two mines. You are able to tour one of the above ground mines. It is interesting learning about the various equipment used to mine at the two operations.

    Questions:
    1. Describe how mining iron ore from the Upper Peninsula began?
    2. How did the mining operations in the Upper Peninsula impact the people living there?
    3. How did the mining operations in the Upper Peninsula impact the environment?
    Posted 08:28, 22 Jun 2011
    Question for image at Museum: Look at the graph comparing revenue from iron production, compared to other industries of the time period. What time period is this? What ERA does this time period fit? What surprises you about this data?

    Look at this map of Iron Ore transportation. What can you conclude about the source of iron ore during this time period, and where is being delivered?
    Posted 08:29, 22 Jun 2011
    http://michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Research_Report_RC1510_255907_7.pdf

    Interesting report: a mine apparently abandoned in 1882, was left behind with incomplete records of the mining activity and location. Now, the proposed highway construction faces the question: is this a safe place for highway construction?

    http://www.mlui.org/landwater/fullarticle.asp?fileid=17088

    Cliffs mining in UP was at the heart of a Michigan court case involving the Natl Wildlife Federation; court ruling has limited the power of environmental groups and individuals to bring suit against a company, once the EPA has issued permits for expanded operations.

    Just thought we should look at another side to the story here.
    Posted 09:02, 22 Jun 2011
    http://www.michbar.org/programs/milestone/milestones_LaughingWhitefish.cfm

    The image located at the site above shows a celebration of a new historical marker being placed in Negaunee, Michigan. When did this court case occur? What was the issue begin argued? What did the Court decide, and how is that still important today?
    Posted 09:12, 22 Jun 2011
    I was struck by the children in the pictures. It is evident that more than alduts worked in these challenging places. They often were smiling in the pictures, however their childhoods had to be wracked by hard work and lost fingers.

    1. When did child labor laws hit Michigan?
    2. Did the iron mines listen to new labor laws?
    3. What did the museum now show? What environmental problems were left behind?
    Posted 13:15, 22 Jun 2011
    For a historical tour of northern Michigan, I was pleasantly surprised with the modern day operations of Cliffs mining. Although we only saw one of the two mines, the scale of their operations was impressive. We were not allowed to take pictures due to corporate sabotage, but the images of the monsterous trucks and 1300+ feet deep pit will stick with me forever. They employee around 1800 people, and they have over 6000 stagnant applicants. The site we saw has been mined since the early 1960s. They project an additional 4-5 years of production from the Empire site. Interestingly, the PR person running our tour said that the demand for ore by China has actually rejuvinated their industry. When one group complains of the outsourcing, it is good to know that jobs in the US and Michigan can benefit as well from the globalization of the markets.

    After seeing the modern Cliffs site, we travelled shortly to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. I enjoyed the timeline setup of their display. It started with information connecting the Ojibwa chief to the first Europeans who worked the iron deposits. From the discovery to the "Arsenal of Democracy", the importance of iron ore in Michigan was evident. The most obvious display of this fact was a great bar graph showing how iron ore revenue surpassed the gold rush in California.

    How was the chief of the Ojibwa helpful in constructing Michigan's contribution to the Industrial Revolution?

    Why were the profits of Iron Ore so much more than other industries like copper and gold?

    Why does the advancement of other nations benefit the iron industry of Michigan? edited 08:28, 24 Jun 2011
    Posted 13:25, 22 Jun 2011
    The Cliffs Mining Company Empire mine in Palmer Michigan was very impressive driving into the mine area, seeing dump trucks that carried 320 tons of Iron ore and rock, standing over 20 ft tall, and costing $5 million dollars a piece were amazing. Standing next to the dumptruck, looking up at 12 foot or higher tires that cost $45,000 dollars was truly stunning. To See a hole dug in the ground that was around 1,300 feet deep made you feel very small and hard to fathom the scale of the operations. This really helped to understand the scope of iron mining operations in the Upper Penninsula. Also, that the two mines in Palmer MI provide 22% of the iron ore in the United States.
    Posted 16:04, 22 Jun 2011
    The Cliff Mining Company has a history that is almost as old as the State of Michigan. Founded in 1847, 10 years after Michigan became the 26th state in the Union, Cliff Mining has been actively finding new ways to mine iron ore, much of it coming from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Currently there are two mines, the Tilden and the Empire, that are being actively mined. Production on the Tilden dates back to 1973, whereas the Empire began in 1963. Pure veins of iron ore were depleted years ago. Consequently, each operation mines a greatly diluted form of ore and has to process it into 64% iron pellets for shipping. Eventually, these pellets are processed at steel mills located on other parts of the Great Lakes or other points further east.
    Posted 13:22, 23 Jun 2011
    In contrast to the Fayette ghost town, the Cliff Mines were a contemporary example of the evolution of the iron ore business. The equipment used to extract iron ore was evident as we pulled into the mining portion of the mine. The earthmovers and front loaders were several times larger than the than the charter bus that we toured in. The one thing that remained the same, as Fayette was how dependent the community was on the company for jobs as they employ over 1500 people and have 6000 people on a waiting list for job openings.
    Posted 14:21, 23 Jun 2011
    The Iron Ore Industry Museum reinforced the two different the information presented at both the Cliff Mines and Fayette State Park. The museums movie and exhibits demonstrated the hard life of mine workers, pioneers, and women and children lived.
    Posted 14:22, 23 Jun 2011
    I have to admit that going to the iron mine was not something I was looking forward to. However, when I was looking down at the wide open mine and watching the huge trucks hauling the huge amounts of ore up out of the mine, I was impressed. Sometimes the thing you are least expecting to be interesting surprises youl!! I'm still not a fan of "big trucks" and manufacturing areas, but I have a new understanding of what is accomplished at Cliff Mining Company.
    1. What sort of education does a worker at Cliff Mining have to have today?
    2. Do you think that the mining industry will someday deplete the mountains in the Upper Peninsula?
    3. Which job would you like to do - load the ore onto the trucks, drive the trucks, or maintain the trucks? Why?
    Posted 14:31, 23 Jun 2011
    Cliffs Natural Resources, Tilden and Empire mining operations: (near Palmer)

    Our guide, Dale Hemmila, did a great job telling us about the past and present status of iron mining. It was evident that safety is a top concern. We were issued hard hats, bright colored vests, and safety glasses before we excited the bus. The size of the machines is amazing, as is the large area being mined. It was encouraging that with our current struggling economy mining is thriving right now. Dale shared that they will need young people to learn the trade as the older workers retire. There is a two year program at the college in Marquette to prepare people for mining work. The starting wage is between 60 and 80 thousand dollars.
    Posted 10:11, 24 Jun 2011
    Does anyone know how to access the group photo we took here in front of the megatruck?
    Posted 19:39, 24 Jun 2011
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