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St. Louis County appoints new mine inspector

St. Louis County has a new Mine Inspector.

The St. Louis County Board gave unanimous approval Tuesday to appoint Derek Harbin as County Mine Inspector. A swearing-in ceremony will be held on March 26 during the County Board meeting, which will be held at the Babbitt City Hall, 71 South Drive in Babbitt.

Harbin had worked as the Assistant Mine Inspector for the last two years. In addition to his work with St. Louis County, his work experience includes as a miner, in mine management, and as a mine safety professional.

The Mine Inspector role is set by state statute, and St. Louis County has had such a position since 1904. Responsibilities include checking active mining properties to determine that the mining and processing is done in a safe manner; conducting accident investigations to determine the causes of accidents, and taking steps to prevent similar types of accidents in the future; and inspecting the fencing around all 285 inactive mines in St. Louis County to reduce access to hazardous areas, and assist in locating abandoned mine shafts that are potential hazards.

Harbin replaces Steve Manninen who retired earlier this year.