A big day of mining news on the Range?

There will be some news rumblings on the Iron Range today. The IRRRB meeting at 9 this morning isn’t expected to generate many sparks. Nevertheless, like a pistol in a Chekhov play, you shouldn’t be surprised if it goes off at some point. The meeting I’ll be waiting to hear about will be the gathering of local officials and representatives of Essar Steel in Nashwauk at 1 p.m.

Essar owns the former Minnesota Steel project to build an integrated mining and steelmaking facility on the site of the old Butler Taconite plant on the western Mesabi Iron Range.

Recently Essar has announced plans to increase its production expectations from its Nashwauk mining proposal. While this is an encouraging sign of progress on the mine, it portends no speed on the steel mill. To many, this crucial step was the whole reason for the vast amount of public subsidy in the project.

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