The U.S. Bureau of Mines, in cooperation with the iron range resources and rehabilitation board, investigated the potential of using northeastern Minnesota papermill waste sludges as a binder for Mesabi Range iron ore (taconite) concentrate. Sludges from five different commercial papermill waste treatment operations were evaluated in laboratory tests. Except for the coarsest sludge, all were fairly easy to blend with the taconite concentrate using conventional mixing methods. The coarsest sludge had to be reslurried at 2 pct solids before adding it to the concentrate in order to obtain pellets without visible sludge clumps. Drying and grinding the sludges made them less effective as binders because of a lower degree of rehydration. On a dry weight equivalent basis, twice as much raw sludge binder was required to obtain similar pellet physical properties as with bentonite; however, the pellets made with raw sludge had superior metallurgical properties. Over 30 pct higher reduction rates and over 150 deg c higher softening temperatures were obtained with sludge binder than with bentonite. Sludge d, which had the lowest fiber and the highest alkali metal content, resulted in the lowest reducibility enhancement. Even though more raw sludge was required than bentonite, the sludges have virtually no value, and therefore may provide a cost-effective additive binder for producing improved metallurgical-quality pellets. Large-scale testing has not been done to confirm these laboratory results.