VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is trying to figure out how damaging zebra mussels ended up in a mine pit on the Iron Range.

The agency said Friday it has confirmed zebra mussels in the Rouchleau Mine Pit near Virginia in northeastern Minnesota.

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DNR invasive species specialist Richard Rezanka tells the Star Tribune the pit is closed to the public and its waters have seen little, if any, activity.

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Cleveland Cliffs, the mining company that owns the property, had been pumping water from the pit into a drainage ditch. Rezanka says after discovering the mussels, the company notified the DNR and immediately stopped pumping the water.

The DNR will inspect the surrounding waterways to see if any zebra mussels were able to establish a home downstream.

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