Empire & Tilden Mines


Project Names: Empire Mine and Tilden Mine

Website: Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. Global OperationsTilden Mine

Project Lead: Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

Location of Projects: 1842 Treaty territory in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Marquette Iron Range in Palmer, MI, near Ishpeming, MI. See a bird's eye view here.

Minerals: magnetite and hematite (low grade iron-ore).

Type of Mine: open-pits; Tilden is 2 miles long by 1/2 mile wide and Empire is 1 mile across and 1,200 feet deep.

Production life: Empire has been in operation since the 1964 and shut down in August 2016 (remediation has not yet started). Tilden has operated since 1989 and may continue operations for another 30 years.

Impacts and Concerns:

  • Scale of land alteration - over hundreds of square miles of permanent mine pits and waste storage sites
  •  Large amounts of water and energy used during processing
  •  Mercury emissions
  •  Air quality associated with nitrogen oxide (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions
  • Tailings and elevated levels of selenium
  •  Impacts to traditional fishery resource at Goose Lake
  •  Economic impacts when Empire closes
  •  Mine closure and reclamation plans for Empire

Status: In-operation. On January 15, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Federal Implementation Plan to set air pollution standards for the Tilden Mine along with five other taconite facilities in Minnesota.

Tilden Mine temporarily closed (2020)

Possible restart of Empire Mine? (2019) 

Update on Selenium Projects at Tilden and Empire Mines (2016)