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October 20, 1957 - Image 14

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1957-10-20
This is a tabloid page

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e the Success

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THE DWINDLING MESABI-Soon this iron pit will become just another man-made canyon, filed
with evergreens and occasional remnants of ore.

RUSTIC BRIDGE over the quiet Avon symbolizes the old-world serenity the town is trying to preserve.

510 Williams

(Continued from Page 12)


- 1
Ti ~r
- S
And no wonder
-- wvhen this ad
softly sueded bal BROWN
oxford comes in SUEDE
fall's newest shades,
h li1d0

After Twenty Years, Then What?

Daily Staff Writer
WE DROVE many miles over
make-believe roads on a warm,
dusty day in early September. Most
of the journey was either up or
down, in or out of the iron pits of
the Mesabi Range near Hibbing,
The roads were carved out of the
man-made canyons and that was
all. Boulders blocked the way, and',
'occasionally the car stopped and
backed up a steep grade, faced
with an electric shovel tearing up
the surface in order to get at more
ore. Tomorrow perhaps a new road
would appear, and the old road
would be loaded on railroad cars
headed for Duluth.
The Oliver Mining Division of
United States Steel has the largest
holding in the Range, with smaller
companies doing the rest. Much of
the -area is owned by former lum-
ber estates which cleared off the
land only to find a far more val-
uable treasure under the ground.
The interests of these estates
are guarded by the Eveth, Min-
nesota Fee Office which makes cer-
tain that all worthwhile ore is
cleared out of the mines. Thq own-

ers are paid a flat rate per ton of
ASSISTANT superintendent of
the Fee Office Vanner J. Mun-
ter, drove us through the mine;,
some of which had already been
cleared and looked like the
strangest natural geological phe-
nomena. Other mines were still
being' worked, and in- one pit
Munter pointed out a towering is-
land" of geological strata which
he said would be "quite a prob-
lem" to mine.
Mining in the Mesabi, the
United- States' largest ore body,
is becoming "quite a problem"
all over. Steel companies are de-
manding higher and more com-
plex grades of ore. As a result,
Mesabi companies rhust wash the
ore and cannot send it straight to
Duluth and the waiting ships, as
they used to do.
Furthermore, the highest grade
ore is being stripped, leaving low-
grade taconite, which takes more
expensive processing. And compe-
tition is breaking into the ore
market. Canada is opening new
ore bodies in central Quebec, Lab-
rador, and at Steep Rock,- On-
tario, not far north of the'Mesabi.

U.S. Steel has already leased new
properties in Canada, and can af-
ford to leave much of the less
valuable Mesabi ore untouched.
AND, one wonders what will
happen to the Mesabi towns
of Hibbing, Chishom, Virginia,
and Eveleth. Experts believe -that
there are still 20 years of produc-
tion left near the present level.
After that, will these towns be-
come ghost towns, or will some
other industry move in?
It is hard to imagine Hibbing
a ghost town, with its ultra-mod-
ern community center and li-
brary, comfortable homes, and
the largest small-town ,high
school in the United States.
Junior college courses are taught
there, and students have an op-
portunity to study a course which.
in two years prepares them for
technical jobs in the mines.
Still, new mines are being
opened; and if a person finds an
ore deposit and can dig up $16
million to invest, he can also dig
up the ground. In the Duluth
News Tribune, B. M. Andrews,
manager of one "f the mines, de-
scribed the opening of an imagi-
nary mine thus:
"On each 40-acre tract in the ',
Mesabi there. are five drill holes.
Early in the history of the Mesabi
Range, it was customary to drill
five holes on each forty."
TlHE MORE complex processes
of ore mining.. require strip-
pings dumps for the worthless dirt
and rock which must be' cleared
from the pit. Since the ore must
be washed befre shipment,
plants and tailings ponds for ore
fragments are.necessary.
Andrews goes on to describe
how the dumps and plant sites
'must be chosen so that they do
not covef up, valuable ore. Also,
the feasibility, of mining an area
depends upon the depth of the
"over-burden," the valueless rock
covering the ore. The cost of re-
moving each cubic yard of over-
burden as well as the potential
cost of each ton of ore must be
be estimated before work can be-

the atmosphere of St r a t f o r d
peaceful and mannerly.
The swans that float calmly
down the Avon in front of the
.- theater seem to typify the some-
What detached relaxation of the
old town. One suspects, however,
that banality and an air of care-
fully created quaintness are slowly
replacing the dignity that has
heretofore distinguished Stratford
from other tourist towns; the
pried of popularity has tradition-
ally been vulgarity. We can only
commend Stratford for her efforts
and her successes so far.



(Continued from Page 8)


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RAIL HAULAGE is the oldest
method, but since mines are
becoming deeper, the cars cannot
make the steep grades. Also.
trucks cannot climb out of the
smaller, deeper mines. Conveyor
hauling, which operates on 30
per cent grades, is the most prac-
tical method for most mines. In
some deep mines, the use of the
inclined skip and hoist up the
side is the most practicable
Although the usual conception
of open pit mining involves rail-.
road cars running deep in the
mine, it is not common practice.
When we stopped off at one of
the railroad control towers, we
learned that one railroad car had
just left the track. The signalman
showed us steel devices which, are
used to prop up the car and put
it back on the track.
GE'IING there Is most -of the
problem, it seems, and the cost
of transporting ore 80 miles south
to Duluth is almost as much as
lake rates to Chicago, Cleveland,
or Erie. Strict schedules must be
kept, since ore freighters cannot
wait long at the docks.
Outside. Hibbing, in trackyards
which are as wide and as brown
as the Mississippi, loaded cars
wait for engines to pull them to
Duluth. -
No- one company or individual
receives any sizable, hunk of ore
tonnage profits. Perhaps the most
unfortunate losers are the owners
of properties who signed 99-year
leases before the turn of the cen-
tury, when the Mesabi was being
developed. These leases entitled
them to ten cents or so on every
ton of ore; the price of ore is
now $10.10 per longton.
And, in the light of present dis-
coveries, the leases may have been

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of late.day shoes in a
fair ytale choice of
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$11 to9 $1211

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. l


a person has'already forked,
his $16 million, and diggings
e begun, he is then faced with
problem of transporting the
un and out of the nit.


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