Raw steel production at American steelmaking plants is at new highs.

The domestic raw steel production capability utilization rate hit 82.3 percent for the week ending June 5, 2021, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

It's the highest production rate since early 2020 and a 0.8 percent increase from the week ending May 29, 2021, when the rate was 81.5 percent.

The capability utilization rate is a measure of operating health at domestic steel mills. 

Raw steel production for the week ending June 5 was 1,840,000 net tons, up from 1,836,000 net tons a week earlier and a 582,000 ton increase compared to the same week in 2020.

On a year-to-date basis, raw steel production was 39,546,000 net tons through June 5, a 12.1 percent increase compared to the 35,292,000 net tons produced through the same period in 2020.  

Increased steel production is a positive sign for northeastern Minnesota taconite plants.

The six taconite plants in northeastern Minnesota produce iron ore pellets, the iron-containing raw material used to make steel.

About 80 percent of America's first pour steel is made from northeastern Minnesota iron ore pellets.