Essar Steel comes back to life, vows return to Nashwauk project

Construction at Essar Steel near Nashwauk, Minnesota, as seen May 2015. (Aaron J. Brown)

In a surprising twist, India’s Essar Global appears to have wiggled out of bankruptcy and a takeover bid by ArcelorMittal. Not only that, but company officials now say they will resume work at their Nashwauk, Minn., plant, the control of which they have quietly reclaimed in recent months.

According to the financial publication Money Control and other sources, Essar’s owners have paid back debt owed several creditors, both internationally and in Minnesota. They now say they will return to developing its Minnesota project.

The terrain here is much rockier than it was when Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other local officials broke ground on the Nashwauk site in 2008. Locals remain jaded about the company’s chaotic approach to construction and financing. 

Furthermore, Cleveland-Cliffs now owns critical land throughout the footprint of the original Butler Taconite site. Cliffs argues it can mine iron ore there without the need for a new plant. In fact, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves argues that the incomplete plant will likely need to be torn down and rebuilt anyway.

But there certainly was something to the fact that Mesabi Metallics introduced former Essar Steel partners as part of its new ownership team late last year. Indeed, Essar has crawled right back into the arena. 

 


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