Investigation into Empire Mine fire continues

The investigation into the cause of a fire that broke out a week ago at the Empire Mine in Palmer continues today.

Cliffs Natural Resources officials say they are still working with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, and the United Steelworks to determine what led to the blaze. As of now, the cause is unknown.

Officials say the fire started last Monday shortly before 6:00 a.m. in the Empire Mine’s limestone feeding system, which was permanently damaged as a result. Officials say the entire structure will be demolished, and there are no plans to replace it. The mine will use a new method involving tramming instead. Officials say the permanent measure will be more of an inconvenience than a hindrance in production. Mine employees will be able to continue grinding flux stone sometime soon.