Mesabi Metallics Gearing Up for 2023 Project Restart
Pays $7.25 Million to Itasca County and DEED,
Bringing Total Investments Since 2017 to $339 Million
NASHWAUK, Minn. (Jan 4, 2022) — Mesabi Metallics Company LLC (Mesabi Metallics) this morning announced it provided a payment late last week of $7.25 million to Itasca County and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (DEED), in conjunction with a master lease agreement executed by Mesabi Metallics and the DNR in December 2020.
Since 2017, Mesabi Metallics has invested $339 million in its Nashwauk mining operation, of which $22 million was invested in 2022 alone. Essar Group, the company’s owner, has continued to invest in Mesabi Metallics.
Almost $40 million has been paid to Itasca County, DEED and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Mesabi Metallics has also paid approximately $5.4 million to Itasca County in the form of property taxes since 2017.
“Last week’s payment, and our previous investments, clearly demonstrate the continued commitment of Mesabi Metallics and Essar Group to bring to life this massive and critical project here in Nashwauk,” says Larry Sutherland, Mesabi Metallics president and chief operating officer.
Mesabi Metallics’ parent company, Essar Group, recently repositioned itself financially in order to invest with renewed vigor starting this year. It completed a debt repayment process through which about $25 billion was repaid to all its financial institutions, paving the way for additional investments into its portfolio companies such as Mesabi Metallics.
The debt repayment effectively made Essar Group debt-free from Indian banks and financial institutions. Armed with a much stronger balance sheet, Essar Group is now looking at reinvesting in building new assets and strengthening its existing operations using the latest in carbon neutral new-age technologies.
Mesabi Metallics has appointed a specialist international consultant to create a bankable feasibility study for a new value-added direct reduced iron (DRI), hot briquetted iron facility that would be built at the Nashwauk site.
“We are now moving forward on completing this project and emerging as a strategic partner and important enabler for the green steel evolution in North America, given the world’s renewed focus on the environment,” Sutherland says.
Mesabi Metallics has continued to invest in maintaining what already has been invested in Nashwauk, and in complying with all of the environmental permits it holds for its current construction and operations plans. Construction crews continue to work on the concentrator building, as it lies on the critical path of construction activities. The company also has been investing in detailed engineering plans, which are now very close to being completed.
As it prepares for construction work to ramp up this year, Mesabi Metallics has re-engaged with local northern Minnesota contractors who collectively already spent almost 3 million man-hours on the project.
“Mesabi Metallics and Essar remain committed to working with the State of Minnesota, the DNR and regional stakeholders to move this project forward, allowing us to scale up construction in 2023 and bring thousands of construction jobs and additional economic benefits to this region, and the state of Minnesota,” Sutherland adds. The company is also in discussions with a highly reputable strategic partner from the steel industry to invest into the Mesabi project.
Mesabi Metallics owns approximately 21,000 acres of land in and around the project, which includes about 3,000 acres acquired last year from Glacier Park Iron Ore Properties. Apart from the mineral leases from the Minnesota DNR, which constitute 39 percent of Mesabi Metallics’ total mineral leases, the company either owns or has leased other private mineral leases within the project boundary as well. These constitute the 6,655 acres of total mineral-bearing land that form part of the Nashwauk project.
About Mesabi Metallics
Mesabi Metallics is building a 7-million tons per annum taconite mining and direct-reduction grade pelletization project in Nashwauk, Minnesota. This is the first such project in the Mesabi Range in the last few decades and at the site of the old Butler Taconite mine, which closed more than 35 years ago. Project construction will produce up to 1,000 well-paying jobs. This project is more than 50 percent complete and when finished, will be the largest investment ever in Minnesota with more than $2.5 billion invested into it. To this end, Mesabi Metallics has already invested more than $1.5 billion and more than 3 million construction man-hours have been completed. Mesabi Metallics has large ambitions for the project, including DRI production.
About Essar Group
Essar Group is an international investor, owning a number of world-class assets diversified across the core sectors of Energy Exploration & Production, Oil Refining & Marketing, Power Generation, Infrastructure & logistics, Metals & Mining and Technology. The portfolio of Essar companies has aggregate annual revenues of about $15 billion and employ more than 7,000 people globally. Some of the company’s new projects include building the United Kingdom’s first $1 billion blue hydrogen project at its Stanlow refinery site, selected by the UK government; production of green hydrogen and green ammonia in India; and development of a new state of the art, 4-million tons per annum green steel production facility in the Middle East/North Africa region.
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