Today, $710,000 for contingency pumping at the Canisteo Pit in Itasca County was approved at the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board meeting. The pumping will begin on or before Oct. 1 to prevent water from overtopping the pit until a permanent outlet solution is in place. A permanent solution will require legislative funding.
Water levels in the Canisteo Pit have trended upward over the years. As of June 2022, the water level was within 13 feet of the pit’s natural overflow elevation. An engineered outlet structure is necessary to control the pit’s water levels in a way that doesn’t adversely affect surrounding communities. Without pumping, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates water would begin to naturally overflow the pit by late 2023 or in 2024. The funding approved today provides a short term means to manage water levels until legislative funding for the engineered solution is provided.
The Minnesota DNR and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation have been and will continue working with local communities to identify a long-term solution and seek the legislative funding necessary for construction and operation of an engineered outflow.
Canisteo Mine Pit is a pit lake formed in a complex of numerous inactive iron ore mine pits located north of the cities of Coleraine, Bovey and Taconite. Traditional iron ore mining took place in Canisteo from 1907 to 1980. The Canisteo is now considered to be a legacy mine pit.