The Minnesota Section of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (MNSME) named Jason Barta as the 2020 Mining Professional of the Year. Each year, the MNSME selects one individual from the industry who has gone above and beyond in their job—those professionals who consistently provide that magical combination of leadership and technical skills. Nominated by Larry Sutherland, former general manager of U. S. Steel Mining Solutions, Barta graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree from UMD in December 2004.
Barta worked at a consulting firm for two years before joining U. S. Steel at the Keetac facility in August 2006 as a process engineer in the plant. He was then promoted to area manager of operational excellence leading the process engineers at both Minntac and Keetac. In fall 2019, he was promoted to his current role as the area manager of the Minntac concentrator. Barta is also a licensed professional engineer and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt (Six Sigma is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement).
Barta manages a total of 16 concentrating lines and the flux grinding systems at Minntac facility. According to MNSME, he continually goes above and beyond in leading his employees, along with using his technical expertise to implement projects himself. Barta meets with his employees on a routine basis to develop concentrate yield enhancement, energy efficiency, and cost savings projects. He uses that time to ensure all his employees are successful in their roles and supports them with any troubleshooting needed by leveraging his technical expertise.
One of Barta’s achievements was to initiate a large innovative project in the Minntac concentrator, known as the high pressure grinding roll (HPGR) that has the potential to provide significant electrical and process benefits to the concentrator facility. Other achievements in his career include several process and automation logic upgrades in the Keetac concentrator.