The project team would like to acknowledge the following individuals and affiliated agency /office /operation for their invaluable assistance in locating and providing access to underground mining maps and related records:

  • Scott Kuzma, Iron Range Research Center (IRRC)
  • Phil Deloria, Iron Range Research Center (IRRC)
  • Bob Wagstrom, Minnesota Department of Revenue Minerals Tax Office
  • Barry Lesar, St. Louis County Inspector of Mines
  • Gary Liubakka, Great Northern Iron Ore Properties
  • Greg Lindahl, Meriden Engineering
  • Dan England, Eveleth Fee Office
  • Peter Heltunen, RGGS
  • Mike Young, Hibbing Taconite Co.
  • Larry Schmelzer, USS-Keewatin Taconite
  • Doug Buell, former LTV Mining Co.
  • Peter Jongewaard, Cliffs Natural Resources
  • Tom Campbell, Cliffs Natural Resources
  • Phil Larson, United Taconite
  • Joe Berklich
  • Dan Lynch
  • Tim Pachovnik
  • Pat Geiselman

In addition, the following individuals provided valuable insights into underground mining methods and operations from first-hand experience:

  • Barry Lesar
  • Gary Liubakka
  • Frank Oreskovich
  • Ed Tekautz
  • Paul Waller

Historical Accounts

The five individuals named above spoke from their experience as mine inspectors and/or underground miners / engineers, aiding in interpretation of the maps and map symbols. Frank Oreskovich gave a first-hand account of drilling, blasting, mucking and timbering, and provided detailed information on raise construction from his 16 years of experience working underground at Inland Steel's Armour # 2 Mine on Minnesota's Cuyuna Iron Range in the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to passing on their knowledge of underground mining, Barry Lesar, St. Louis County Inspector of Mines, and Gary Liubakka, Great Northern Iron Ore Properties, provided access for viewing remnant features of underground mining activity, including shaft openings, subsidence features, and road, sidewalk, and parking lot deformation.

Additional background information on underground mining on the Mesabi Range was obtained through literature searches. Articles were found dating as far back as 1897, directly addressing specific mines and mining methods used on the Mesabi Range. These articles provide a real-time view of the underground workings and yield specifics with regard to shaft construction, timbering, and actual mining. A selected bibliography of these articles is included in our Mining Methods page.

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