Company: Essar Steel Minnesota not for sale

Iron Range newsEssar Steel Minnesota isn’t for sale. That according to the India-based steelmaker seeking to build a new taconite plant on the western Mesabi Iron Range. Earlier reports had indicated that the company might be packaging its new plant for sale once its completed in 2015, but Essar says those reports were speculative and incorrect.

Given the start-and-stop nature of construction on the Essar site near Nashwauk, Minnesota, and ongoing problems paying vendors, speculation over this project has been an easy commodity to produce. Essar represents the single-largest public investment in a private mining project in modern memory, and many are outright nervous about its prospects, which had initially started out as an integrated mine and steel mill and ended up just a mine. While more than half of the processing plant is complete, construction during this peak building season remains slow or stopped.

Recently, Essar secured nearly half a billion dollars in financing, and says that this will let them pay their vendors and finish the project in 2015. After that, they plan to mine taconite. The local sentiment is very much centered on waiting and seeing what actually happens.

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