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Erie Mining Company Scholarship Fund

Event: Erie Mining Project Team members honored the 2023 Erie Mining Company Scholarship Recipient, Benjamin Rex with an Award Certificate. He was feted at a luncheon at the Kitchi Gammi Club on June 16, accompanied by members of his family, and by Ron Hein (Team Leader, Erie Mining Company History Project), Amber Burns (Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation); and Ashley Grimm (St. Louis County Commissioner).

Scholarship: The purpose of the Erie Mining Company Scholarship Fund is to commemorate the history of the Erie Mining Company and its employees, and to keep alive its vision of successfully developing Minnesota’s mineral resources. To that end, scholarships will be awarded to a deserving student or students from the areas in which Erie was located. Specifically, the scholarship is open to graduating seniors from Mesabi East High School in Aurora, Minnesota, and from Cook County Senior High School in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Background: The Erie Mining Company existed from 1940 to 2001 and was a pioneer in the taconite industry. The advances made at Erie helped ensure Minnesota’s continued prominence as the major supplier of iron ore, a material which is critical to the nation’s security and to the advancement of the nation’s standard of living.

The Erie Mining Company produced more than 330 million tons of taconite pellets, which were made into steel. The towns of Hoyt Lakes and Taconite Harbor were built for employees and their families, and Erie was a leading employer in the area from 1957 until its closure in 2001.

In 2014, a group of former Erie employees formed the Erie Mining Company History Project Team and wrote a book on Erie’s history. Taconite New Life for Minnesota’s Iron Range – The History of Erie Mining Company was published in 2019. It relates the story of one of the world’s largest producers of taconite pellets from its inception to its closure and identifies future northeastern Minnesota mineral development potentials.

The Erie Mining Company History Project Team linked with the St. Louis County Historical Society in 2014 to ensure that their goals in relation to the project were continued in perpetuity.

About St. Louis County Historical Society

Since its inception in 1922, the St. Louis County Historical Society has sought to discover, preserve, and disseminate knowledge about the history of St. Louis County and the state of Minnesota. The Society maintains and operates a museum, the Veterans Memorial Hall Gallery, and the Lake Superior Ojibwe Gallery, nineteen traveling exhibits, and has thousands of archives on permanent loan to the University of Minnesota Duluth, Kathryn A. Martin Library, in its Special Collections.

About Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation encourages private giving for the public good through an endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations. It awards grants to nonprofits for projects and to individuals for scholarships and provides leadership and support on community initiatives across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Since its start in 1983, DSACF has distributed more than $63 million in grants and scholarships and has established more than 450 funds. Major initiatives include: Opportunity Rising, an embrace of diversity and inclusivity that provides all children abundant opportunities, respect, safety, and security; a regional response to economic and health crises posed by COVID-19; disaster resiliency through Ready North; and Speak Your Peace: The Civility Project, a nationally-known program that encourages civic engagement by building and sustaining civil discourse.


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