Minnesota officials react to foreign company purchasing U.S. Steel

U.S. Steel has a significant presence in northern Minnesota.

Finished iron ore pellets are pictured at the Minnesota Ore Operations. The pellets are sent to U. S. Steel’s facilities to be used for steelmaking. (U.S. Steel)

United States Steel, America’s third largest steel producer, announced it is being purchased by a Japanese company, Nippon Steel Corporation (NSC), for $14.9 billion.

U.S. Steel (USS), once the largest company in the world and one of the most dominant corporations of the 20th century, was founded via a merger of multiple steel companies, including Carnegie Steel Company, in 1901. The Pittsburgh-based company was founded by J.P. Morgan, Charles Schwab, Andrew Carnegie, and Elbert H. Gary.

A Dec. 18 joint press release announcing NSC’s acquisition of U.S. Steel said, “The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both NSC and U.S. Steel.” However, the agreement is not expected to close until either the second or third quarter of 2024.

Additionally, the joint press release said NSC’s acquisition of U.S. Steel will “further diversify NSC’s global footprint by significantly expanding its current production in the United States.”

In a statement regarding the acquisition acquired by Northern News Now, Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s office said the senator “believes this proposal must be immediately and thoroughly reviewed by the United States government. There is an existing foreign investment review process that includes the Department of Treasury, State, Homeland Security, Justice, Commerce, Labor, and more, and the Senator has requested that this proposed transaction be immediately reviewed for labor, economic and national security considerations.”

U.S. Steel has a significant presence in northern Minnesota. Currently, U.S. Steel runs Minnesota Ore Operations which includes two mining facilities: Minntac and Keetac. At these facilities, “iron-bearing rock called taconite is mined and processed into iron ore pellets for use in U. S. Steel’s steelmaking facilities.”

Minntac is Minnesota’s “largest single mining operation.”

In a report issued earlier this year, U.S. Steel estimated that their operations in northern Minnesota’s Iron Range generated roughly $1.8 billion of economic activity for the state and local area in fiscal year 2022. Additionally, the report found that U.S. Steel contributed $141 million in state and local taxes during the same period. In total, over 1,800 people are directly employed at U.S. Steel’s Minnesota Ore Operations.

U.S. Steel’s report said roughly 5,284 jobs are either directly or indirectly supported by their presence in northern Minnesota.

State Rep. Spencer Igo, a Republican whose Iron Range district includes Keetac, issued a statement saying, “Today’s news opens the door for new possibilities on the Iron Range as Nippon’s acquisition of U.S. Steel will better position our region to play an important role in helping meet increased, global demand for steel.”

“There are many questions that will be answered in the weeks and months ahead, but I am encouraged that Nippon has made clear that they are committed to honoring all of U.S. Steel’s collective bargaining agreements that have been negotiated over the years. Moving forward, I expect operations at Keetac and Minntac to continue uninterrupted and am hopeful that new technologies will expand opportunities in Minnesota,” Igo added.

Conversely, a White House economic adviser speaking on behalf of President Joe Biden said the president “believes the purchase of this iconic American-owned company by a foreign entity — even one from a close ally — appears to deserve serious scrutiny in terms of its potential impact on national security and supply chain reliability.”


Luke Sprinkel

Luke Sprinkel previously worked as a Legislative Assistant at the Minnesota House of Representatives. He grew up as a Missionary Kid (MK) living in England, Thailand, Tanzania, and the Middle East. Luke graduated from Regent University in 2018.