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Dayton reinstates former Essar Steel mineral rights leases

July 11, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton has reinstated the mineral rights leases for a company that wants to finish the former Essar Steel taconite mine and processing plant in Nashwauk.

The governor’s statement Wednesday says Virginia businessman Tom Clarke and Chippewa Capital Partners can now move forward with construction and production. Dayton says the company’s success will bring new jobs and economic vitality to the Iron Range.

Clarke bought Essar’s assets out of bankruptcy last December. He has now met the conditions the state imposed for getting the leases reinstated, including securing financing for construction and customers for its taconite pellets. He had competition from Cleveland-Cliffs, which owns or runs other Iron Range mining facilities.

Essar broke ground in 2008 but struggled to obtain financing and pay contractors. It went bankrupt in 2016.

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