Governor, Mesabi Metallics to hold Nashwauk forum

On a sunny July day in 2016, Gov. Mark Dayton and a gaggle of mining officials took questions inside the Nashwauk Township Community Center about the former Butler Taconite plant just a few miles down the road. Now, just over two years later, Dayton will hold a similar event, only this production boasts a whole… Read More →

Cliffs vows ore for Hibbing Taconite, plans for Nashwauk

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves still wants to mine iron ore near Nashwauk. He vows that Hibbing Taconite will always have enough ore from his company, if they need it. Further he says Northshore Mining continues to make progress with direct-reduced iron products. Finally, he predicts smooth contract negotiations between his company and the United Steelworkers…. Read More →

Essar rejoins Nashwauk project; ArcelorMittal looms large

The complex tale of an incomplete iron ore mine on the western Mesabi Iron Range took several new turns this week. Each twist reinforces a central truth. Distant, powerful corporate forces act on impulses far removed from Northern Minnesota’s hopes and dreams. Mesabi Metallics still holds state mining leases on land outside Nashwauk. This was… Read More →

Mesabi Metallics internal fight casts shadow over project

So, I was gone for a week. As near as I can tell, I’ve returned to a world in which Nashwauk’s Mesabi Metallics owns half a mine with half a processing plant on it, run by two competing management groups. Last week, some of the money behind Chippewa Capital Resources, owners of the Mesabi Metallics… Read More →

Cliffs wins Nashwauk land case, deals blow to Mesabi Metallics

To paraphrase “The Simpsons” Episode #222: Everything’s coming up Lourenco Goncalves. It’s been a very good week for Goncalves and Cleveland-Cliffs. The company declared strong earnings. Netting $165 million in the second quarter, Cliffs is selling iron ore pellets at $112 per ton. That’s a dramatic increase from the doldrums of 2015 and 2016. Industry… Read More →

Good money versus bad money in Range development

It’s been dizzying to follow developments in the Mesabi Metallics iron ore project near Nashwauk this week. Last week we learned that billionaire Tom Clarke and his Chippewa Capital Partners won back state mineral leases for the former Butler Taconite property. But that came with the news that Clarke’s other company ERP Iron Ore, which… Read More →

Another chance for western Mesabi mine

Billionaire Tom Clarke and his Chippewa Capital Partners will have a chance to finish the $2 billion Mesabi Metallics iron mine and pig iron plant at the former Butler Taconite plant in Nashwauk. On Wednesday, Gov. Mark Dayton announced that the state will restore mineral leases withheld from the project after the bankruptcy of its… Read More →

Summer 2018 brings color to Range communities

I drive through Nashwauk, Minnesota, most days. It’s a nice little town, but a little worn down. That’s not unusual for the cities of the western Mesabi Iron Range. These boom towns bloomed in a white pine wilderness a century ago, each at the mouth of a specific iron mine. Now that mining is more… Read More →

Empire Mine backers pitch future project to Cliffs

Workers and local leaders in Northern Michigan want Cleveland-Cliffs to locate its next value-added iron plant in the U.P. rather than here on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range. A community group in Marquette began organizing efforts to woo the mining company to its historic home in Michigan. This brings another twist to the ongoing saga over what… Read More →

Just nine miles remain on ‘Cross-Range Expressway’

I’ve told this story before, but my grandfather served on the Keewatin City Council in the 1960s. One of the most important pieces of city business at the time was largely out of his control. The state of Minnesota decided to rebuild Highway 169 as a four-lane highway, bypassing the city of Keewatin and many… Read More →