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 →

Power plays go beyond hockey on the Mesabi Iron Range

This week the state hockey tournament takes place in St. Paul. This sporting spectacle doubles as a cultural celebration for the people of the North Star State. Once, the whole state bowed to the gods of hockey from our beloved blue collar Mesabi Iron Range. Today, however, the big suburban schools dominate the competition. The… Read More →

Mesabi Metallics responds to governor’s criticism

The new CEO of Mesabi Metallics, Matthew Stock, wants to meet with Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to argue his case that his company can finish a brand new yet somehow beleagured taconite mine. It was clear from Gov. Dayton’s statement on Feb. 8 that he wasn’t ready to jump on the Mesabi Metallics bandwagon. Sure,… Read More →

Cliffs boasts big earnings, state support in Essar battle

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves announced that his company posted a $199 million profit in 2016. That reflects a positive swing of almost $1 billion from the dismal 2015 downturn of the American steel industry. It’s also basic math, as Cliffs finally has all its Minnesota mines up and running, filling orders… Read More →

Mesabi Metallics to try building upon Essar bones

Mesabi Metallics issued a plan last week to bring the former Essar Steel Minnesota iron ore project in Nashwauk, Minnesota, out of bankruptcy and back into construction. A judge must now consider whether the newly reorganized company has sufficiently proven its case to keep the state mineral leases along the western Mesabi Iron Range. “Creditors will receive vastly… Read More →

Mesabi Metallics sues former parent Essar Global

Essar Steel Minnesota, now doing business as Mesabi Metallics, is suing former parent company India-based Essar Global over mismanagement. WDIO and other media outlets reported the news Thursday. Mesabi Metallics seeks to emerge from bankruptcy and resume construction of a $1.6 billion taconite plant near Nashwauk, Minnesota. But according to their lawsuit, the project site… Read More →

Indian banks sue Essar over cost overruns

Essar Steel Minnesota, bankrupt and seeking capital from a new holdings company, is still providing headaches to its parent company Essar Global back in India. John Myers at the Duluth News Tribune reported Dec. 7 that banks in India are suing Essar over problems on the Nashwauk iron ore project. From the story: The Economic Times reported Wednesday… Read More →

Rawr: ‘Cougar’ catfight stirs controversy

Last week, a young hunter perched in his deer stand near Nashwauk got the story of a lifetime without even firing a shot. Here’s the description from an article by Dave Orrick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: I wasn’t there, but I know this: Jordan Bowen saw a big wildcat try to attack a deer. The… Read More →

Bankruptcy court lets Essar keep mineral leases

On Tuesday, a federal bankruptcy judge denied the state of Minnesota’s request to strip Essar Steel Minnesota of mineral leases. This move breathes new life into Essar, though perhaps only temporarily. It’s a significant setback for hopes that Cliffs Natural Resources could quickly take over the project. The beleaguered Essar, stuck with a half complete taconite… Read More →

Northern MN co-op to further expand fiber network

As I pointed out in July, Paul Bunyan Communication continues working on its Central Itasca Fiber Project. In fact, this week they’ve been laying cable on the little dirt road that leads to MinnesotaBrown World Headquarters in Balsam Township. Readers know that I’ve long advocated for ubiquitous high speed internet as a means of economic diversification for… Read More →