Of the many state parks in Minnesota none is more appropriate than the Tower-Soudan State Park. Situated in the wooded highlands of the Lake Vermilion area, the park is within one of the State's most scenic areas and at the same time is a symbol to Minnesota's heritage -a monument to the vast iron ore resources that have been the backbone of the strength and wealth of the nation. The central feature of the park is the Soudan Iron Mine. This, the first iron mine in the State of Minnesota, was operated nearly continuously from its discovery in 1882 until 1962, when it was closed. Through its active life, the mine yielded a high-grade iron ore that brought premium prices in the iron ore market and provided employment for thousands of miners. Although the Soudan Mine was shut down because of the high cost of its operation and the reduced demand for its ore, in a sense its demise can be attributed to technological progress. Concurrently with the building of the large modern taconite plants, such as those on the Mesabi Range 20 miles to the south, the iron and steel industry has undergone revolutionary changes. The high-grade natural ores such as those from the Soudan Mine have been largely replaced by the marble-sized pellets of the taconite plants as the preferred feed for the steel furnaces. Steel men have found that through the use of pellets, production of the furnaces is greatly increased. As operation of the furnaces is the most costly of all the operations in steel making, it is little wonder that the demand today is for pellets rather than for the natural ores used in the past.
Sims, P.K.; Morey, G.B..
Educational Series 3. Geologic Sketch of the Tower-Soudan State Park.
Minnesota Geological Survey.
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