ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - U.S. Steel will temporarily pay less in royalties to Minnesota for the ore it extracts from the Iron Range.

The state's executive council made up of the governor and four other statewide officials unanimously granted the 15-month cost relief Wednesday. It will reduce payments to a school trust fund and a few other accounts.

It cuts the fee the dominant mining company pays on each ton from about 91 cents to 75 cents. A U.S. Steel official told the board it would save the company several million dollars and help it compete with foreign companies.

Plunging domestic steel prices have led to industry slowdowns and more than 1,000 layoffs in Minnesota.

The break is only on the first 25 million tons of taconite ore mined. U.S. Steel holds 80 percent of the state's mining leases.