Moving mountains for an Iron Range future

Soon the Hull Rust Mine View in historic North Hibbing will be closed for good, set to reopen next year at a new location to the east. Shortly thereafter Hibbing Taconite will blow to bits the very mountain of taconite on which the viewing stand sits to send the iron ore on its way to… Read More →

Minnesota bug clouds tripping radar balls?

Here in Northern Minnesota, the deer flies are always bad this time of year. They’re worse this year. Everybody’s talking about deer flies. And they may have even showed up on radar. But first, some thoughts about radar. Every day I pass by the Nashwauk Radar Ball, a mysterious white orb overlooking Highway 65 north… Read More →

West Range Itasca County race takes shape

Last week I reported a vacancy on the Itasca County Board after Mark Mandich resigned his District 5 seat on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Two candidates emerged over the past few days. Ben DeNucci Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci said he was running for the Itasca County Board. DeNucci owns a bar in Nashwauk and… Read More →

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 →