MN DNR closes Hill Annex Mine State Park, allows mining to continue

Hill Annex Mine State Park (Courtesy: MN DNR)  (Supplied)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Thursday that the Hill Annex Mine State Park closed for mining operations to return to the area. 

The site, located about 15 miles northeast of Grand Rapids, in the City of Calumet, was originally an open-pit ore mining operation. State officials say it produced 63 million tons of iron ore over the course of its 60-year history, making it the sixth-largest iron ore producer in the state. 

The DNR said the closing of the mine is "consistent with the historical expectation that mining would return to this site." 

Officials say the Hill Annex Mine site, a 625-acre area, operated on a surface lease on School Trust Lands. In December 2023, a developer applied for a scram mining permit through the DNR. If approved, mining preparation could begin this year with full operations starting in 2025. 

The DNR adds that mining would benefit the local community and fund public education throughout the state. This would reportedly be done through the "deposit of state mineral lease rental and royalty payments into the Permanent State School Trust Fund."

The site became an attraction operated by Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation when open-pit mining ceased in 1978. Hill Annex Mine State Park was then established in 1988 and then transferred to the DNR in 1991.