« Ind. Courts - Governor appoints Marion County Superior Court Judge | Main | Ind. Gov't. - Even more on: Governor's Illiana and Commerce Connector proposals under fire »

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Economic Development - More on the Minnesota iron nuggets plant

This ILB entry from May 2004 began:

The "iron nuggets plant" issue - whether a plant to process iron ore into nuggets, which can be used in mini-mills, will be built in Indiana (where the mill is and where the environmental permit process is said to be quicker) or in Minnesota (where the ore is) - an ongoing story that has been covered in detail here in the Indiana Law Blog, but not, as far as I've seen, in any of the Indiana papers, is a classic example of a state trying to balance economic development and environmental issues.
The ILB has a number of entries on the iron nuggets plant in 2004. Eventually, as this May 20, 2004 ILB entry reports, the State of Minnesota "played its hand" and the plant was built there, rather than at the Steel Dynamics location in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

So it was with great interest that I read this AP report this afternoon that the Minnesota nuggets plant had gone bankrupt and that "Fort Wayne-based SDI now will be the driving force in the project."

HOYT LAKES, Minn. (AP) -- Two months after the Mesabi Nugget plant was virtually called off, the proposed $215 million project received some new life Wednesday when officials announced that Indiana-based Steel Dynamics Inc. purchased the plant site.

The land sale brings renewed hope that at least 100 permanent jobs and 1 million man-hours of construction work will come to the area.

"It was a milestone day," said Larry Lehtinen, Mesabi Nugget LLC president.

Officials expect to get the construction go-ahead from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and a modest construction schedule was set to begin Saturday at the 4,458-acre property, the former LTV Mining Co. site at Hoyt Lakes.

Fort Wayne-based SDI now will be the driving force in the project.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. abandoned the project in November, but sold 3,000 acres of the 4,458 acres involved to SDI.

"We have secured the land for the permits. It's just great," Lehtinen said. The land sale was critical for construction to start before Monday - when environmental permits for the project would have expired.

The project would use advanced technology to produce iron nuggets of about 97 percent purity, which could be used in newer electric-arc furnaces for making steel. The old taconite pellets contained about 65 percent iron content, for use in older-style blast furnaces.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 25, 2007 12:29 PM
Posted to Environment | Indiana economic development