Itasca County commissioner resigns

Commissioner Mark Mandich resigned his seat on the Itasca County Board this week. The board accepted Mandich’s resignation at their meeting Tuesday. My sources tell me that Mandich cites health problems as his reason for stepping down. The Itasca County Board authorized a vacancy, instructing the county auditor to prepare a special election. Details on… Read More →

Iron Range Fourth of July 2017

It’s time for another Iron Range Fourth of July in Northern Minnesota. Regardless of economic or political winds, the region always unites for its uniquely exuberant observation of Independence Day, which lasts several days (up to a month) as celebrated in local custom. Below is MinnesotaBrown’s 2017 Iron Range Fourth of July listing for parades, fireworks displays and street… Read More →

Cliffs announces iron plant in Toledo

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources announced it would invest $700 million in a new iron briquette plant in Toledo, Ohio. This will be the company’s first entrance into the electric arc furnace market. That means Cliffs will finally produce the value-added iron products modern steelmakers require. They will no longer be limited to varieties of… Read More →

New company reaches deal with state over former Essar project

Today, Chippewa Capital Partners is expected to get its final green light from a bankruptcy court in Delaware. This allows the partnership to take over the former Essar Steel Minnesota iron ore mine near Nashwauk. But the company also celebrates equally good news right here in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton and the state Department of Natural… Read More →

London’s Liberty House, backer of bid for Essar project, also bought US steel mill

This week brought the surprising news that Chippewa Capital Partners submitted the successful bid for the former Essar Steel Minnesota iron ore project on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Chippewa Capital Partners is a financing group formed around ERP Iron Ore, a company founded by Virginia state entrepreneur Tom Clarke. The larger backer, however, is GFG… Read More →

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 →

‘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 →

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 →