Magnetation to build plant in WI or IN, expand MN ore operations

Magnetation announced Thursday it will not build its pellet plant in northern Minnesota as locals had hoped. Instead the scram mining operation that’s expanded quickly on the western Mesabi Iron Range is considering the sites of Superior, Wisconsin or Butler, Indiana.

Permitting issues are the top reason, according to the company. Magnetation President Matt Lehtinen made the announcement to a gathering of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, while his father CEO Larry Lehtinen discussed it with WDIO.

That being said, recent legislation passed by Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam) would have created a 10-month path to permitting for the company, within its previously stated timeline. It would appear other factors are also at play in this decision. Given the investment of Iron Range resources in Magnetation over the last few years this development is a disappointment. A final decision on the plant location is expected at the end of 2012, after the election, so perhaps more can be done.

Magnetation will, however, build two more concentrate plants in Itasca County, creating a total of five scram mining sites in northern Minnesota. While Minnesota could lose the 100 jobs that would have come with the pellet plant it stands to gain 200 jobs in ore extraction.

I wrote about Magnetation’s plans to seize a chunk of the domestic taconite market in April.


  1. The Lehtinen’s are operating in the 21st century; the Iron Range political & business climate is still in the 20th. How unfortunate…

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