Friday, February 15, 2008

World's largest open pit iron ore Mine - Hibbing, Minnesota

In addition to several thousand gorgeous lakes, Minnesota is home to a "natural wonder" that's actually human engineered. Sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of the North," the Hull Rust Mine is the biggest open pit iron ore mine in operation in the world. At the present time, it is more than three miles long, two miles wide, and nearly 540 feet deep. It's operated by the Hibbing Taconite Company.

There are varying estimates about how much rock and ore have been removed from this mine since it started operations in 1895, but it's somewhere around 2 billion tons. This is equivalent to the amount of earth you'd have to move if you dug a tunnel 24 feet in diameter through the entire earth. Originally, there were 30 separate mines, but these were consolidated into a single operation at the turn of the century. By 1901, this facility was managed by J.P. Morgan, and during the peak production period in the early 1940s, nearly a quarter of all iron ore mined in the United States came from the Hull Rust Mine.

  • World's largest open pit iron ore mine
  • First ore shipments in 1895 (still being mined today, 100 years later)
  • Originally 30 separate mines
  • Total area: 1,591 acres
  • Total length: 3 1/2 miles
  • Greatest width: 1 1/2 miles
  • Greatest depth: 535 feet
  • Total ore shipped: About 1 billion tons Total rock removed: About 2 billion tons (that's 4 trillion pounds!)

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