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Mining debate: Decades later, industry still unpredictable

Michigan and Minnesota keeping a close eye on development in China

10:12 PM, Mar. 17, 2013

As he was sworn into the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2001, Tony Sertich's thoughts were on the district he was newly elected to represent.

LTV Steel, one of the largest employers in northern Minnesota, closed the gates to its iron-processing plant in Hoyt Lakes that day and laid off about 1,400 employees. The company said the plant couldn't produce taconite pellets cheaply enough.

"One day, these mining jobs are going to go away," said Sertich, now commissioner of Minnesota's Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board. "Probably not in my lifetime, but they will." ...

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports