Dayton Discusses Development of Mesabi Metallics Site
Governor and Local Politicians Meet at Nashwauk City Hall
NASHWAUK, Minn.- Nashwauk City Hall, abuzz with anticipation as Governor Mark Dayton updated local officials about the Mesabi Metallics proposed iron ore pellet mine.
In a meeting closed to press, Dayton says he’s been promised by Mesabi’s CEO that reconstruction of the site will start in March of 2019.
“My mother used to say actions speak louder than words,” said the Governor at a news conference after the meeting. “And he indicated that they’re now doing their engineering plans. They’re going to put another $30–$40 million more equity into the project through the end of this year.”
Faith in Mesabi Metallics was a big part of the meeting. As they go through financial concerns, and legal squabbles with Cleveland Cliffs.
Cliffs claims their name should be on the permit, because they own several mineral leases on the site.
They even sued the DNR over the permit last month.
“I think the most important thing is we need to support the current owners of the project and support the project,” said 5th District Commissioner Ben DeNucci. “That’s how we are going to be successful.”
“And not doing that is going to put us back to square one and starting all over, and nobody wants to do that.”
The battle for the Nashwauk mining project has been going on for years, going through more than 6 different lawsuits. But the message at today’s meeting was clear: hurry it up, and failure is not an option.
“Everyone benefits if this succeeds, no one benefits if it fails,” said Governor Dayton.
Residents on the Iron Range would seem to benefit, as this would be the only mine in the country to produce standard, fluxed, and DP grade pellets.
“Well you’re talking about 1,000 construction jobs, putting tradespeople, men and women to work for 2.5–3yrs,” said Commissioner DeNucci. “And then 250–300 permanent jobs for the next 90 years.”
But the road to those riches seems to be riddled with obstacles, as it has been up to this meeting.
“For 7.5 years I’ve been given the same runaround, the same promises, the same assurances that haven’t come forward,” Governor Dayton said. “So I totally understand the frustration.”
Mesabi Metallics says they hope to maintain their March start date. The cultivation of a years–long struggle.
“This project first started when I was in high school,” Commissioner DeNucci said. “So we have remained optimistic for a long time, but there is a sense of frustration.”
Frustration, a word now hovering around the development of this mine.