Where water goes
Duluth News Tribune
Published December 7th, 2004
All six Minnesota taconite processing plants have state
permits to discharge water in some fashion from their
• North Shore Mining, Silver Bay: Water from the tailings
basin is pumped through a water treatment plant before
being discharged into the Beaver River, which runs into
Lake Superior. The treatment plant is designed to remove
particulate matter and fibers from the water.
• United Taconite, Forbes: Water seeps out of the tailings
basin into a series of wetlands that are part of the St.
Louis River watershed.
• Ispat-Inland Steel, Virginia: Water from operations
is going into an old mine pit that has not filled and
does not need drainage. Water from an old tailings basin
occasionally is discharged into the Wuori River, which
flows into the Sandy River.
• Minntac, Mountain Iron: From 100,000 to 500,000 gallons
of water daily seeps out of the tailings basin into the
Dark and Sandy rivers. Minntac wants to increase the discharge
by pumping water out of the basins.
• Hibbing Taconite, Hibbing: Some water seeps out of
tailings basins; more is siphoned into the Shannon River,
which flows into the Sturgeon River, which flows into
the Rainy River.
• Keewatin Taconite, Keewatin: Water from the plant flows
into a series of reservoirs and storage basins. It's discharged
about half the year into Welcome Creek, which flows into
the Swan River, then into the Mississippi River.
SOURCE: Minnesota Pollution Control