Skip to main content

Iron Mining

Iron Mining
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Iron Mining

Contact

Melanie Humphrey
HumphreyM@Michigan.gov
906-250-7564

 

 

Regulated by Part 631: Ferrous Mineral Mining, ferrous or iron containing minerals are used in common manufactured products. Michigan’s iron bearing formations have long been sources of these important minerals. Lake Superior iron deposits account for 90 percent of U.S. iron production over the last 50 years and Michigan and Minnesota are the only states within the U.S. that currently mine iron ore.  Part 631: Ferrous Mineral Mining, provides a sound regulatory framework for the mining operations and reclamation required for the safe and environmentally sustainable extraction of ferrous minerals. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Oil, Gas, and Minerals Division (OGDM), implements Part 631. The ferrous mining industry is also regulated by other environmental statutes and divisions within the EGLE such as the Air Quality Division and the Water Resources Division. There are currently two permitted iron mines in Michigan, both in Marquette County – the Tilden Mine and Empire.

Law and Rules:
MI Administrative Code for EGLE-Oil, Gas and Minerals Division
Part 631: Ferrous Mineral Mining

Maps and Additional Resources: 

Map of Part 631 Mining Sites

More Information on Ferrous Mineral Mines

  • Empire Mine

    The Empire Mine is located on the Marquette Iron Range, adjacent to the Tilden Mine south of Ishpeming. The Empire Mine was permitted under Part 631 in 2002 as an active open pit mine and processing plant until 2016 when the decision was made to indefinitely idle the iron ore mining and pellet production activities. This decision was made due to the expiration of partnership and commercial agreements and the limited availability of economic ore reserves. A long-term care and maintenance plan is in place to preserve the assets for future optionality if market conditions improve and justify the major capitol investment required to access these resources.

    Part 631 requires the submission of an annual report showing all existing mining areas or areas subjected to mining by the operator of the mine as well as the progress and success of reclamation activities.

    Mining Permit Status: Issued, in effect

    Cliffs Natural Resources

    Empire Mine Permit

    Annual Reports:

    2022 Combined Annual Report for Empire and Tilden Mines

  • Tilden Mine

    The Tilden Mine is an active open pit mine located on the Marquette Iron Range, approximately five miles south of Ishpeming. Permitted under Part 631 in 2002, this mine is owned and operated by Cleveland-Cliffs Inc, and consists of an open pit, truck and shovel mine with on-site single stage primary crushing, autogenous grinding, and floatation separation processes and pellet plant. Iron ore pellets are transported from the mine site by rail to a deepwater port located in Marquette. The Tilden Mine produces several million long tons of Iron ore pellets each year.

    Part 631 requires the submission of an annual report showing all existing mining areas or areas subjected to mining by the operator of the mine as well as the progress and success of reclamation activities.

    Mining Permit Status: Issued, in effect

    Cliffs Natural Resources

    Tilden Mine Permit

    Annual Reports:

    2022 Combined Annual Report for the Tilden and Empire Mines