HIBBING, Minn. (NNCNOW.COM) --- Iron Ore prices have taken a significant hit. In the past year, Cliffs' stock has fallen from 27–dollars a share, to around six dollars. Some say the share prices could go even lower.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar toured Hibbing Taconite, where she expressed optimism for the future of Iron Mining on the range.
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Despite iron ore prices being in a somewhat of a free fall, Sen. Klobuchar says mining companies such as Hibbing Taconite are still the future of good paying jobs on the Iron Range.
"We have such a great work force. We've got an efficient system here," Klobuchar said.
In the past year, Minnesota's Senior Senator has fought against illegal steel dumping practices from foreign countries. Most recently Klobuchar helped Hibbing Taconite by clearing rail road congestion.
"We had a little slow down with the trains and I helped to get that started again and we were able to get the Iron Ore, the pellets on the trains, and get them out before the lake froze over, which was our goal," Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar said fast and efficient transportation will enable Iron Range companies to compete more successfully in the global market.
"That means we have to be as agile as possible in getting these permits approved. And when there is expansion possibilities, we have to get those done. Because we are competing in a worldwide market," she said.
"The second is to make sure we have good transportation and that is why the rail is so important because if we can transport the iron ore to the rest of the world and do it faster with less cost, we are going to be better off," she added.
In a week from now, state lawmakers will kick off the legislation session in Minnesota. Among the top priorities of the Range delegation include: wild rice legislation, sulfide standards, and streamlining the mining permitting process.
Minnesota State Senator David Tomassoni says streamlining the mining permitting process will be key.
"I would love to see us get these permits out the door in thirty or ninety days. Because let's face it, we've been doing this job for over a hundred years. We know what mining is all about, we know where the water goes, we know where the air goes, we know what happens when they dig a hole," Tomassoni said.
"I don't think it should have to be difficult for us to do these permits," he added.The major reason for taconite price declines is a high supply of iron ore in the global market, with not enough demand.