Laurentian Vision Partnership

Transforming Pits and Piles into Livable Landscapes in Minnesota

Discovered in 1866, the Mesabi Iron Range in northeast Minnesota supplied most of the iron for World War II. But heavy mining depleted the region's 100 percent iron and that lead to the processing of lower-grade ore (taconite), which revived a new era of mining in the region. Unfortunately, the open pit operations left large craters and waste rock piles in their wake.

Something bold and visionary needed to be done to transform the region back into a livable, productive, aesthetic landscape. Enter a voluntary coalition of diverse interests —mining companies, business, government, educations, professional and community groups that, with the help of Millennia consultants, formed the Laurentian Vision Partnership.

Working with the various stakeholders over several years, Millennia helped develop the partnership by facilitating project planning, meetings, data collection, mapping sessions and public design workshops. Millennia's expertise in sustainable development helped set the stage for how active mining tethered to community goals can reshape a region's physical landscape.

Since the inception of the Laurentian Vision Partnership, stakeholders have drawn up goals for "transforming mine pits and stock piles into new lakes and functional landscapes," helping the region become a health place to live and work.

Now, well on its way, the Laurentian Partnership continues to serve as both a convener and a land planner to assure that a diverse group of stakeholders has a voice in designing future landscapes. Among the work is oversees: community and regional visioning, land design workshops, geographic information system mapping and innovation grants.

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