HIBBING — Hibbing Taconite welcomed Sen. Amy Klobuchar Tuesday for a tour of the taconite operation.

Speaking to the press ahead of her tour, the senior senator said the plant’s recent hirings signal a return to form for the industry in the area.

“There’s a lot of exciting things going on at Hibbing Taconite. They’ve been hiring a bunch of people,” she said. “They just hired 100 more people, and this is just an example of the mining industry coming back in northern Minnesota.”

The resurgence of the mining industry can be connected to the economy as a whole in the country, as the pellets produced in northern Minnesota help other businesses across country, she said.

“With America’s economy going strong — because of low oil prices, because of low natural gas prices, because manufacturing is coming back — that’s actually good for (Hibtac owners) Cleveland Cliffs because they have situated themselves in such a strong position in the Great Lakes area,” Klobuchar said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose to come here today.”

The Klobuchar visit was stop two of a three-site swing through the region, which also included talks in Virginia on the Highway 53 relocation and Duluth on legislation designed to help people with disabilities and their families. She has visited Hibbing Taconite in past years while in the area as well.

Klobuchar’s recent legislative work related to the mining industry includes efforts to alleviate rail congestion this fall that forced Hibtac to truck its pellets to Duluth.