Essar owes $1.1 billion in bankrupcy

Bankruptcy proceedings began recently for Essar Steel Minnesota, the struggling subsidiary of the Indian company Essar Steel, which seeks to build a new iron mine in Northern Minnesota. The story draws rapt attention from residents and leaders on the Mesabi Iron Range. For good reason. The outcome of this case will determine if hundreds of new… Read More →

LIVE BLOG: Primary Night on the Iron Range

Welcome to the Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 MinnesotaBrown primary election live blog. Your intrepid host Aaron Brown will provide analysis of Iron Range results throughout the evening. We’ll pay close attention to the House 6A DFL contest and St. Louis County commissioner races. 11:00: There will be more to write in coming days, but we can… Read More →

Range DFLers hurtle toward Tuesday’s 6A primary

It’s Primary Election Eve in Minnesota. Tuesday, Aug. 9, brings the statewide primary election, in which local candidate pools will be narrowed and parties will sort out their nomination battles for state and federal offices. Today I’ll analyze the only major Iron Range legislative primary: the House 6A race to succeed State Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing)…. Read More →

Range mines catch a Super Mario star

If Iron Range mines were Super Mario, they’d be blinking while knocking off Goombas left and right. More on that below. This week brought quarterly earnings reports from the two biggest mining companies on Minnesota’s Iron Range, U.S. Steel and Cliffs Natural Resources. Both companies show significant improvement from a dismal 2015. Cliffs posted a profit… Read More →

Inside fundraising in House 6A Range DFL primary

Last week at the blog we dove into a debate over who funds Iron Range campaigns. At the time we didn’t have access to the first major campaign finance reports. Well, the Campaign Finance Board released those reports Tuesday morning. You can view them for yourself here. So let’s explore the fundraising for Northern Minnesota’s… Read More →

House 6A candidate decries lobbyist influence

An Iron Range DFL primary usually creates sparks, but until Friday the House 6A DFL contest had been remarkably quiet. One letter to the editor even complained that the candidates seemed too similar to make a decision. The race features four DFL candidates seeking to replace Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), including Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci, teacher Julie… Read More →

Cliffs CEO promises iron clad future for Mesabi

Tuesday morning’s public forum with Gov. Mark Dayton and Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves sounded like a battle cry before a coming war. Though everyone hopes the war will be short and successful, many unknown factors lie ahead. The meeting’s primary announcement was stunning. Goncalves said that Cliffs is planning a major shift to direct-reduced iron (DRI)… Read More →

Cliffs CEO, Dayton to talk Essar on the Range

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves will come to the Iron Range on Tuesday, July 12. Their visit aims to showcase how a long suffering Iron Range mining project might find new life. Dayton and Goncalves will discuss the governor’s recent decision to cancel the mineral leases for Essar Steel Minnesota’s new iron… Read More →

Cliffs to buy Essar project, make value-added iron

Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration will not renew the mineral leases of the Essar Steel Minnesota project near Nashwauk. This comes to me from a source familiar with today’s private meeting between Essar Steel officials and the governor. Instead, Dayton will announce a deal between the state and Cliffs Natural Resources that would allow Cliffs to buy the… Read More →

Essar mine project faces life or death moment

Essar Steel Minnesota may soon lose its mineral leases for its incomplete iron ore mine near Nashwauk, Minnesota. The beleaguered India-based company missed another deadline in repaying state grant money it received to build an innovative new steel mill, which Essar later scaled down to a traditional taconite processing plant. Losing the mineral leases would essentially… Read More →