Pioneer Mine video: Crossing over from black and white to digital

LEARNING about the geology of the Ely area from Twin Metals Minnesota geologist Aaron Magnuson were Ely third grade students Ronan Littler, Sydney Durkin, Jacob Cochran, Taylor Gibney and Erron Anderson during a field trip on May 29. In addition to learning about the different minerals found here, students were able to handle core samples and take a tour of the company’s core shed building.
Photo by Nick Wognum.

This week a new video on YouTube brings to life the underground world of Ely’s historic Pioneer Mine. Great photos, mainly in black and white, cross into the digital world. It’s a great step forward for presenting and preserving our mining history. Here’s why that’s important.
Today’s mining news is not about iron ore, it’s about copper, nickel, gold, platinum, palladium and other platinum group metals (PGMs).  Just as iron built this country’s infrastructure and helped the United States to win two world wars, copper and other PGMs are helping us advance our digital infrastructure, from televisions to cellphones.
But in order to better understand where we’re going we need to understand where we’ve been. Thanks to volunteers with the Ely Arts and Heritage Center, that’s being done today.
Students in the Ely school system are now taking field trips to the Pioneer Mine as well as to Twin Metals Minnesota. The two facilities are located on either side of Miners Lake. In fact, Twin Metals is a stone’s throw from the location of Pioneer’s dismantled B-Shaft where millions of tons of ore was brought from 1,500 feet underground to the surface.
These school children are learning about geology and mining from yesterday’s and today’s mining employees. Wow! They are certainly fortunate to live in a great community like Ely, Minnesota.
At Twin Metals they hear from geologists about exploring our area for mineral formations that hold billions of tons of PGMs. Those minerals will make cellphones and tablets, windmills and piping, medical instruments and airplane engines.
At the Pioneer Mine they hear from miners who worked underground to bring blue hematite to steel mills from 1883 to 1967.
But what about those students who aren’t able to live here? Short of opening a new underground mining operation that will provide hundreds of jobs so their parents could move here, we have YouTube.
This free internet site is now showing “17 Level (Pioneer Mine Operations)” seven days a week, 24 hours a day to viewers around the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VziN7Bm_5jo
Five underground iron mines operated in Ely for over eight decades.  The video tells how those mines provided hematite that left Ely en route “to meet America’s steel needs and leaving behind a community proud of its contribution and mining heritage.”
We believe a similar statement will be said in the near future when Twin Metals Minnesota opens facilities with the latest in technology to protect our land and water from pollution.
Wouldn’t it be great to tell your relatives that their cellphone, their electricity, their cars and even their gold wedding ring could have been made minerals from right here in Ely, Minnesota?
If you haven’t seen the new Pioneer Mine video, please energize the copper in your internet device and check it out.
Our thanks to Doug Luthanen, John Pouchnik and everyone involved in sharing Ely’s rich mining history with the entire world.
Isn’t it great schoolchildren the world round can share in what our students enjoy right here in Ely?