Outsider bid pulls off upset in Essar bankruptcy auction

As the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Today, a bankruptcy court in Delaware ruled on the case of Essar Steel Minnesota. The judge didn’t go with the incumbent, now renamed Mesabi Metallics. Nor did the well established Cliffs Natural Resources prevail. Instead, Chippewa Capital Partners, LLC, a group controlled by Tom Clarke’s ERP Iron Ore, announced… Read More →

Pivotal week for Essar bankruptcy on western Mesabi Range

It’s a big week ahead for those following the bankruptcy of Essar Steel Minnesota near Nashwauk, Minnesota. In the next few days a bankruptcy court will rule on the project’s fate. Essar is the proposed taconite plant at the site of the former Butler Taconite on the western Mesabi Iron Range. But calling it a taconite plant… Read More →

Study adds new fuel to mining vs. tourism debate

Iron Range newspapers and TV stations have given considerable air time to a study sponsored by a pro-mining group showing that while tourism provides more jobs in Northern Minnesota, mining, railroading and shipping provide far better paying jobs. From the Duluth News Tribune: The [Mining Minnesota] study found current iron ore mining and directly related… Read More →

‘Three’s company’ in Essar bankruptcy case

Things happen quickly in bankruptcy proceedings for the former Essar Steel Minnesota iron ore mine near Nashwauk in Northern Minnesota. Late yesterday, we learned of a new player on the scene. This, after I reported new developments early Monday morning. Mesabi Metallics, the reorganized successor to Essar Steel Minnesota, still wants to finish the project with its… Read More →

Another salvo in Cliffs, Mesabi Metallics iron ore war

If this sounds familiar, bear with me. Cliffs Natural Resources and its outspoken CEO Lourenco Goncalves think very little of the former Essar Steel Minnesota or its reorganized successor, Mesabi Metallics. Goncalves’ company wants the leases to mine iron at the former Butler Taconite site near Nashwauk on the western Mesabi Iron Range. But Mesabi Metallics… Read More →

The Chinese engineer who mined an American life on Minnesota’s Iron Range

Wen Ping Pan was arguably the fastest man in China in 1912. Also among the nation’s best tennis players, he had his pick between competing in the Olympics against Jim Thorpe or playing in the esteemed Davis Cup tennis tournament. Ultimately, he did neither. Geopolitical change would radically alter this young man’s life, most of… Read More →

Biofuel politics puts loggers in a bind

Logging is a tough business. In the old days logging meant back-breaking labor with axes and saws — one of the most dangerous jobs on Earth. It still is one of the most dangerous jobs, but also one of the most economically challenging. Axes and saws have given way to hundreds of thousands of dollars… Read More →

Stunning North Woods buzzer beater advances Grizzlies

The Minnesota Boys Basketball Tournament is going on in St. Paul this week. The North Woods Grizzlies, champions of northeastern Minnesota’s Section 7A, are still in the hunt, thanks to this heroic shot by sophomore Cade Goggleye. Check it out: WDIO has the same shot from a different angle. The Duluth News Tribune also has… Read More →

Boomtown Brewery to open in Hibbing at former Zimmy’s location

Amid tough times for small businesses on the Iron Range, one entrepreneurial couple bucks the trend. Eric and Jessica Lietz, owners of the iconic Whistling Bird Jamaican restaurant in Gilbert and Boomtown in Eveleth, will now open a brewery in Hibbing. The Boomtown Brewery will be located at the former Zimmy’s Bar and Restaurant in the… Read More →

Iron mining’s cold war on the western Mesabi

As Iron Range economic development phantasms go, the Essar Steel Minnesota project near Nashwauk has always felt rather personal. The construction site sits just a few miles from my house. When the wind carried, I could hear them running equipment, crushing rocks for fill, and erecting the plant structures which today remain unfinished on the horizon of my… Read More →