Iron Range Miners' Expo Offers the Latest in Technology

Posted at: 09/11/2013 5:24 PM
Updated at: 09/11/2013 9:21 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

On any given day at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, you'll find the history of mining, but this week it's full of cutting edge tools and gear. It's the second annual Iron Range Miners' Expo.

From power tools, to heavy heavy equipment, to safety gear, 90 vendors from across the Midwest are showing of their very latest equipment. A Minnesota business, Mars Company, helps outfit many miners with the gear they wear every day. Safety specialist, Joe Marchese, said their new boots are a hit with the miners.

"They are waterproof up to the black and then all the stitching is Kevlar, so it's very strong so they last long," said Marchese.

But not all of the expo-goers are miners, some are hopeful miners. Kevin Elsner has been a self-employed contractor for years.

"I've come to see what kind of work there is and see if there's any chance of getting a job, a truck driving job, or a mining job," said Elsner.

Either way, the expo is a chance for those working in the industry to see all their options.

"By having the employees here, they get to see what's new and maybe ask to have something different," said Marchese.

One of the hottest attractions is a Feterl mechanics truck made by TEAMCO Inc. out of Tea, South Dakota. It runs off a wireless remote.

"Everything in that truck is amazing. They all have remote-controlled booms where you can be standing away from the truck so you can actually see what you're doing," said Garret Aman, a second year student at Hibbing Community College.

Aman and his friends, Tyler Ellefson and Matt Bendar, attend HCC. They came to the expo for what their teacher says "is a chance to meet their future employers."

They aren't sure what they want to do yet, but Garret said he's interested in learning more about operating in a mine.

"I'm not sure completely on the mechanics, but if I can get my foot in the door through here and meet some employers, that might be very nice," said Aman.

The Iron Range Miners' Expo continues Thursday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The expo is free to the public.