Essar restarts construction of new west Range mine

Iron Range newsEssar Steel has restarted construction on its new taconite mine and processing plant near Nashwauk, Minnesota. This according to a Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 story in the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

What’s not known is who is financing the India-based company’s sometimes beleaguered Iron Range project, or if the financing package will ultimately include another partner.

While some personnel are back on the Essar site near Nashwauk, we have yet to see the major ramp-up that would indicate whether the company’s goal of producing taconite in 2015 is serious or not.

The original plan for this project included an integrated iron mine and steel mill. Hopes of making steel on the Iron Range have faded nearly entirely, though many of Essar’s loan agreements are hinged on value-added iron products being part of its business.

Right now, local officials are trapped in the position of happily accepting any progress on this project, because the public investment is so large. But at some point there will be a major reckoning over how the state of Minnesota ended up heavily subsidizing a standard-issue taconite plant, when so many other taconite plants have operated without such support.


  1. Of course they have names, Ken, but the question is who would have said No to the idea of an integrated steel mill on the Iron Range in the late 2000s? The problem is that a developer once again took the Range for a joyride. THAT won’t get better until we hold leaders *and* developers accountable for their promises. Changing out officials without changing strategy won’t change much.

  2. The local officials are responsible for handling our money. It is always more important to take care of someone else’s money better than your own. If Essar loses it’s own money shame on them if politicians lose our money shame on us all!!! The notion that it is govt money is silly, it is our money and if you cannot be a good steward, you need to be fired.

  3. So if you’re in the state legislature and Essar asks you for bonding funds to build infrastructure (rails and roads) to build their integrated steel plant in 2007, you say no? When people in Nashwauk are screaming for the jobs? Oh, I think the public money is very often misspent, and oversight very poorly handled. I’m right there with you on that. But I think we often overlook how developers and consultants rook this area for all it’s worth. It goes much deeper than our lawmakers. We’ve all got some sharpening up to do. That’s part of the reason I am skeptical of holding companies, and encouraging of localized self-determined growth.

  4. You don’t say no, you structure a business deal that makes sense. Most legislators don’t have any business background. Every business deal has levers that when A gets done B gets funded. It’s called limited exposer. Basic business.

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