A steel mill

Mercury and Ore Processing

Mer­cury is a haz­ardous air pol­lu­tant (HAP) that can cause dam­age to the brain, ner­vous sys­tem, and devel­op­ing fetus­es. Mer­cury is emit­ted dur­ing taconite ore pro­cess­ing, which sep­a­rates and con­cen­trates iron ore from taconite into taconite pel­lets. Taconite pel­lets are used to make steel, iron and cement. 


  • July 2020

    Under the Clean Air Act, the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency (EPA) is required to estab­lish emis­sion stan­dards for indus­tri­al sources that pro­duce HAPs, includ­ing mer­cury. Despite this oblig­a­tion, in July 2020, the EPA final­ized a rule that deter­mined that it was not nec­es­sary to devel­op emis­sions stan­dards to con­trol mer­cury emis­sions from taconite ore pro­cess­ing facilities.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2020

    In Sep­tem­ber 2020, Michi­gan Attor­ney Gen­er­al Dana Nes­sel and Min­neso­ta Attor­ney Gen­er­al Kei­th Elli­son filed a peti­tion for review chal­leng­ing EPA’s July 2020 rule. The attor­neys gen­er­al are seek­ing to ensure that the agency issues emis­sions stan­dards for mer­cury from taconite ore pro­cess­ing facilities.