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 →

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 →