CHISHOLM, Minn. (AP) _ An 8,300-pound, 35-foot-tall sculpture of a miner has been raised onto a base near the entrance to Ironworld USA to honor the men who dug iron ore from the pit and underground mines of Minnesota.

''My dad was one of them ... my brother ... I wish all those miners who did all of the digging of the man-made canyons could be here today,'' said Veda Ponikvar, publisher of the Chisholm Free Press and chairwoman of the Iron Ore Miner Memorial Committee.

''They sacrificed, were hard-workers and believed in what they were doing,'' she said Monday. ''Many gave their lives during our war effort when they produced 90 million of tons of ore a year.''

In 1947, while looking out over the Pillsbury and Glen open pit mines, Ponikvar had the idea for a tribute to the miners.

Forty years later, police blocked traffic Monday morning while associate sculptor Matt Maki, in a forklift, and Dario Rolle, in a crane, hoisted the miner between their vehicles to move it the mile from its garage workshop to Ironworld, which has tours and exhibits about the history of the Iron Range.

The miner, on a 45-foot-high base, now overlooks the Pillsbury and Glen pits just west of Chisholm.

The gold-colored sculpture was designed Jack Anderson, 57, of Michigan, who spent the past decade researching and building the statue. He built the original plaster mold five years ago.

Made from copper, bronze, brass and iron, the sculpture depicts a miner clad in plaid shirt, corduroy pants and a soft leather cap. He carries a shovel and pick.

''It's pretty much the same as we were,'' said 77-year-old Alex Vitali, a 30-year underground miner. ''I grew up across the road there on Pillsbury location. As a boy, I saw many miners walking to and from work with their dinner pails and looking like this.''

Ponikvar said about $600,000 was spent on the project. More than $150,000 was raised through the work of the Chisholm Bicentennial Committee formed in 1976. The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, which operates Ironworld, contributed $450,000.