Big day at the Hallett Dock #5

pm20090529_6181The tug Undaunted pulled her barge, the Pere Marquette 41, into the Hallett Dock #5 in West Duluth on Thursday afternoon, May 28th. Both were making their first trip on Lake Superior and they are here to pick up the first cargo of taconite rock to be taken from Duluth.
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Reporters, cameras and project members all awaited the vessel as she backed into the dock.
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It is a project developed at the UMD Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) that is finding new ways to use taconite ore from the Iron Range. This rock has a very low level of iron content in it and would not be used to make pellets but it is an ideal material to serve as aggregate in making road surfaces. This rock is going to Chicago for a test run.
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Mike McCoshen, Hallett Dock President, is interviewed about the project
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Above, Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune interviews Ron Johnson from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority
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The taconite pile about to be loaded is seen just behind an anxious audience. Behind the pile, the ship loader (blue) is slowly moving into position.
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pm20090529_6246There were two front-end loaders picking up the taconite rock and dropping it in the hopper that fed the conveyor belt up to the barge. Above, foreground, you see one of them picking up a load at the pile while the other one, top right, is about to dump the rock into the hopper.Taconite is moving up the ship loader conveyor and into the vessel’s cargo hold. The hard work begins and for the rest of us, it is time to go home.
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Pere Marquette and Undaunted arrive Duluth

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The Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted arrived in Duluth late this afternoon (above). They are here to load taconite rock that will be taken to Chicago to be used as a surface treatment on roads. It may also be used in the manufacture of cement. This is an entirely new use for taconite taken directly out of the ground. Usually, we receive iron ore pellets from the Iron Range that have been processed in large ball mills that take ground-up taconite and combine it with other ingredients including limestone and turn it into pellets that eventually get fed to giant blast furnaces in steel mills such as US Steel in Gary.