Iron Range endowed with more than enough ore

The Gilbert water tower can be seen in the distance behind a pit at Arcelor Mittal’s Minorca Mine. Current reserves at the mine are 81 million tons and 10 years.

VIRGINIA — The victim of a fatal accident earlier this week at ArcelorMittal’s Minorca Mine in Virginia has been identified as 51-year-old Ken Mattson of Gilbert.

Mattson was a longtime employee at the mine, according to the company, and a member of the United Steelworkers Local 6115.

“We lost one of our brothers, Kenny Mattson, in an accident,” said Harold Anderson, president of USW Local 6115 over the phone Thursday. “The investigation is ongoing as to the cause of the accident. That’s all we have at this point.”

ArcelorMittal, United Steelworkers and the Mine Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident. A spokesperson for ArcelorMittal, the owner-operator of the mine, said there were no additional updates on the incident. No further details were available as of press time Thursday night.

Emergency crews responded to the Minorca Mine at about 9:40 a.m. this past Tuesday to reports of a service truck crash on a haul road within the mine. One person, now identified as Mattson, was found not breathing and later reported dead.

“We are saddened to confirm there was a fatality at ArcelorMittal Minorca this morning,” an ArcelorMittal spokesperson wrote in an email after the incident Tuesday. “The company extends our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of our colleague during this difficult time.”

The accident was the first reported fatality at an Iron Range mine since two people died on mining sites in 2007, one of them at the Minorca Mine, according to the 2018 St. Louis County Mine Inspector’s report. ArcelorMittal reported one safety incident last year when an employee missed 154 days of work due to a broken foot resulting from welding accident.

In April of this year a haul truck carrying iron ore overturned at the mine, spilling about 100 gallons of diesel fuel. The driver was taken to a local hospital for precautionary reasons and later released.

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