Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to reflect on all the blessings we have in our lives. How many will be giving thanks for iron this year?

Iron is the raw material in steel. Iron miners have been working in our region for nearly 140 years, and they’ve been essential to life as we know it.

Right around the time iron was found on the Iron Range, cars and the first light bulbs were invented. The first refrigerator was invented in 1834. About 100 years ago, televisions were invented.

My dad was an inventor. Inventions take time to find their way into mass production. “It doesn’t happen overnight,” he explained. Once a product has been invented, it takes years and sometimes decades before it’s perfected and can be mass-produced. Of course, mass production is wholly dependent on elaborate infrastructure that supports both construction and raw materials procurement.

We often forget that how far we’ve come is directly tied to the production of iron mining.

This Thanksgiving, when I wake up in my warm home, I’ll thank an iron miner for the steel equipment used to assemble my furnace.

As I turn on my lights, I’ll thank an iron miner for the vast network of utilities, substations and power grids.

As I brush my teeth, I’ll thank an iron miner for the steel pipes providing water to my faucet, for the pumps that bring water to my home and for the hot water heater that provides me with warm water in all weather.

As I prepare my coffee, I’ll thank an iron miner for the equipment that made my coffee, the coffee maker and the cup I drink from, all possible from iron mining.

I’ll thank an iron miner for the vast infrastructure that made it possible for me to buy coffee in Minnesota.

As I stand in my warmly lit home sipping my coffee, I’ll thank an iron miner for providing the steel beams that help my home’s structure remain sound.

I’ll prepare some of my favorite foods for Thanksgiving, and I’ll thank an iron miner for the refrigerator, stove, microwave and oven in my kitchen. I’ll thank an iron miner for the food that has been processed, prepared and distributed to locations near my home.

As I drive to see family, I’ll thank an iron miner for the steel in my car, for the road I drive on and for the equipment that made the solid surface and for the equipment that keeps roads clear.

Once dinner is finished and it’s time to clean up, I’ll thank an iron miner for the dishwasher and its ability to sanitize the dishes safely.

I’ll clear the linens from the table and load my washer and dryer, and again I’ll thank an iron miner.

After dinner, I’ll sit down to watch football with my family, and I’ll thank an iron miner for the television, the stadiums, the rebar, the steel beams and the solid structure required for this entertainment.

This Thanksgiving, countless hardworking iron miners will be away from their friends and family members, spending their day making our modern life possible.

Over the holiday, I challenge you to think about all of the things in your life that wouldn’t be possible without mining.

Thank you seems like such a small gesture, but I’ll give it all the same. I humbly thank you, iron miners, each and every day, for providing the materials we need to enjoy the conveniences of modern life.

Kelsey Johnson


Iron Mining Association


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