The Empire Mine is operated by Cliffs Natural Resources and is located in Palmer.

The mine began pellet production in 1963 and has produced more than 260 million tons of product.

Current plans as of March 2013 were to shut the mine down by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015, when a contract with steel-maker Arcelor Mittal expires.

Timeline: Empire Mine

March 24, 2016. Empire mine to close. WNMU News. "The Empire Mine will close at the end of 2016. That’s the word from Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves, who spoke at a State of the Company meeting Wednesday at Marquette’s Holiday Inn.  WLUC-TV says the closure will affect 400 employees, some of whom may go to other mines in Minnesota."

March 5, 2013. Empire Mine Winding Down, Marquette Mining Journal, "MARQUETTE - Activity surrounding the Empire Mine in Palmer will decrease in the coming years, with a Cliffs Natural Resources top official saying the mine will likely be shut down by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. "It will be a very progressive process," said Cliffs Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Carrabba of the drawdown of the mine."