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For this native of the Mesabi Iron Range, the book "Taconite: New Life for Minnesota's Iron Range - The History of Erie Mining Company" is a true gem. The people who put this project together after visiting at a Christmas party seven years ago are to be commended. They have preserved for posterity the impact made by Erie Mining Company on the Iron Range, and we thank you — Mike Sterk, Ron Hein, Jim Westbrook, Elroy Rafferty, Dan DeVaney, Doug Buell, Lynn Niemi, Tom Michels, Jim Scott, Tom Niemi and the late Ted Williams. For as Hein wrote in the book, "This story is intended to keep the memory of Erie Mining Company alive and to serve as an inspiration to you, the next generation of pioneers."

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RAMS – the Range Association of Municipalities & Schools is now entering its 81st year of service for communities, townships and school districts located in the Taconite Assistance Area. Formed in 1939 by some very progressive minded local elected officials to pool their resources in a fight for survival against the Oliver Mining Company, RAMS has been engaged in many battles over the decades. While membership in the organization has fluctuated over time, RAMS has been growing each and every year for the past 5 years and that is what enables our board of directors and our members to continue to make our voices heard on issues of regional importance, not only at the State Legislature, but also in the halls of Congress when necessary.

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ELY — Before Kevin Boerst was hired as the leading expert on rock layers and mineral formation at the Iron Range’s newly-proposed billion dollar underground copper-nickel mine, he was working with the different layers of sandwiches at a local Subway.

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Northern Minnesota is mining country. For generations, hardworking Rangers have mined the resources for which the community is named. The mining industry has and always will be a constant in northern Minnesota. During my time in office, I have led the fight to protect this strong tradition while supporting the prospect of precious metal mining projects.

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Last year was, by far, one of the most exciting years I’ve experienced in my eight years at Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM). In the spring, we celebrated the Federal Bureau of Land Management’s renewal of our mineral leases covering one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals – including the area where TMM is proposing its underground mine a few miles southeast of Ely.

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As Senate Majority Leader, I represent a caucus that expands the state, from suburban Ramsey county, to rural Pipestone, from the forests of Warroad to the bluffs of Winona. But, I am a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Virginia, Minnesota and my heart is from the Iron Range.

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