News release: Hill Annex Mine State Park permanently closed to allow mining to resume

June 13, 2024

Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet has been deauthorized as a state park and is now closed. These actions are consistent with the historical expectation that mining would return to this site.

“Over its 60-year history, Hill Annex Mine produced 63 million tons of iron ore and was the sixth largest producer in the state. Then it served generations of visitors as a small state park and helped tell our mining history,” said Ann Pierce, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Now we are evaluating proposals to resume mining, which would contribute to local economies – and to Minnesota’s public schools.”

When open pit ore mining ceased in 1978, the Hill Annex Mine site became a visitor attraction operated by Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. The legislation establishing Hill Annex Mine State Park was passed in 1988; the site was transferred to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 1991. The legislation establishing the park recognized the possibility that mining may be conducted on the property in the future.

The 625-acre Hill Annex Mine State Park operated on a surface lease on School Trust Lands. The stockpiles and inground minerals within the 625 acres of the previous state park are also School Trust. The surface stockpiles and tailings basins at the former park site are under lease, and the developer applied to the DNR in December 2023 for a scram mining (mining of stockpiles and tailing basins) permit. If permits are approved, scram mining could begin with site preparation in 2024 and operation in 2025. Resumption of mining at the site would benefit the local communities. It would also benefit K-12 public education throughout the state through the deposit of state mineral lease rental and royalty payments into the Permanent School Trust Fund.

State park Passport Club members will no longer need the Hill Annex Mine State Park stamp to complete their passports. Area residents and visitors have several other state parks and a state recreation area to enjoy. Within a 45-minute drive of the former Hill Annex Mine State Park are Scenic, Schoolcraft, and McCarthy Beach state parks, and the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle State Recreation Area is less than an hour away. Other DNR-managed recreational opportunities can be found on the Recreation Compass.

The DNR, IRRR and community partners are discussing how to preserve artifacts in the former park’s Clubhouse Museum so they can be enjoyed by the public at a new location. When any mining concludes and mineral leases are no longer in place, the site will be evaluated for potential future uses in collaboration with community partners.

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