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  • Cool Startup Story

    Posted by David Foster on May 17th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Fortune (5/25) has a story about a Duluth, MN startup called Magnetation. The company’s founders (now 78 and 83) have developed a process for recovering useable iron ore from the millions of tons of tailings left as waste from previous mining activities. There are millions of tons of this stuff in northern Minnesota. The Fortune story isn’t available on-line yet, but the company website is here.

    Not all startups are centered around computer technology or biotech.

     

    2 Responses to “Cool Startup Story”

    1. Whitehall Says:

      Edison went broke trying to develop a commercial process to separate magnetite from dross in taconite.

    2. Conservative Mutant Says:

      Not exactly. Edison was trying to revive the iron industry in the Eastern states, which grew up in part around low-grade magnetite deposits. He eventually solved the magnetic separation and briquetting problems, but was unable to make it cost-competitive with ore from the deposits coming online from the Mesabi.

      Taconite itself is a substitute for that high-grade ore, so it’s not implausible that they’ll be able to make this work. They’re also going to be reclaiming exposed tailings piles, which are probably cheaper to mine than the deposits Edison had to work with.