Steel Mills

USS marks launch of DR-grade pellet ops in Minnesota

Written by Ethan Bernard

U.S. Steel celebrated the launch and “operational readiness” of its DR-grade iron ore pellet production facility in Minnesota.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker has already confirmed the first shipment of DR-grade pellets from the Minnesota Ore Operations-Keetac Plant in Keewatin, Minn. The operation is on track to deliver ~4 million short tons (st) of pellets annually.

“This project was completed ahead of time, under budget, and most importantly, safely. Plus, it created 250 construction jobs and 33 full-time union and management jobs,” David B. Burritt, U.S. Steel president and CEO, said in a statement on Thursday.

The steelmaker said the $150-million investment is a step forward in its metallics strategy “by supplying the increasingly tight DR-grade pellet market with low-cost iron ore and building on the company’s ability to meet customer needs.”

This facility will be able to produce either DR-grade iron ore pellets or blast furnace iron ore pellets. U.S. Steel said this will allow it to adjust to changes in the market.

The company noted that construction on the facility began in August 2022 and was completed in December 2023. The Minnesota Ore Operations directly employs nearly 2,000 workers.

Burritt was on hand at the celebration along with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and other elected officials, as well as USS SVP of raw materials and sustainable resources John Gordon, employees, and members of the community.

Ethan Bernard

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