Essar loan extended, company in talks to bring steel plant to Range

Essar Steel, an Indian company planning to open a new taconite plant near Nashwauk next year, is talking to another company about bringing an historic steel plant to northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. This according to reports from yesterday’s meeting of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board in Eveleth.

Essar also got their $6.7 million IRRRB loan extended for the third time in the project’s history. The IRRRB and State of Minnesota have invested heavily in the plant, which promised to become the first direct mining-to-steelmaking plant ever on the Iron Range.

The company recently insisted that, despite fears of project stagnation, Essar plans to finish principle construction of the Nashwauk taconite plant in 2013. This taconite plant would essentially “replace” the old Butler Taconite site which closed in the early 1980s, kicking off a long regional depression.

The steel-making component of the project is very important because it was part of the original deal to get Essar production tax breaks and state bonding funds for infrastructure.

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