Updated: 06/11/2014 10:55 PM
Created: 06/11/2014 2:09 PM WDIO.com
Rusty Eichorn never really needs an excuse to fly. But he definitely had one last week, when he took WDIO-TV up in his Cessna 180, to check out the mining development going on in Itasca County.
Eichorn, a county commissioner and avid pilot, told us there's been about $1.5 billion dollars in investment in mining since we last went up in his plane in 2006.
We took off on a perfectly calm, sunny day last Wednesday. Lake Pokegama was our runway. Looking down, you can see the sandbars through the clear water.
One of the first places he took us was over the Tioga Pit. It's an old mining pit, and the water looks aquamarine. "This is the very Western edge of the Mesabi Range," Eichorn told us.
Then it was a quick pass by the Boswell power plant in Cohasset, and then over to the site of Magnetation's Plant 4. The facility is a $155 million dollar investment, that will employ over 160 people.
Even from so high up, the operation looks impressive. And just a few miles away, is Magnetation's Plant 2 site in Bovey.
"Things with Magnetation are better than we ever could have expected," Eichorn said.
We also could see a train full of cars being loaded with concentrate made by Magnetation. It was heading to Mexico, to a steelmaker down there.
From the air, we also saw the Essar Steel Minnesota site in Nashwauk. "Essar has put in $800 million dollars so far," Eichorn told us. Despite delays in construction and delays in payments to contractors, Eichorn believes this project will get done.
We saw so much steel lying on the ground, waiting to be put up as buildings. Essar has said they have received additional financing, and hope to ramp construction up soon.
The large cooling tower is now a new landmark for Rusty, as he flies home from Canada.
Back on the ground, he told us, "It's so exciting to be part of it in the air, and on the ground. There are great jobs, which are sustainable. It's fun to see how it's all developing," he added.
New York Officials: Doctor has Ebola, 1st in City
A Doctors Without Borders physician who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus, according to preliminary test results, city officials said Thursday. He's the fourth confirmed case in the U.S. and the first in the nation's biggest city.
Minn. Officials Walk Through Mock Ebola Scenario
More than 100 representatives from several Minnesota agencies are going through a mock exercise to review the state's preparedness in the event of a case of Ebola.
Woman Charged with Murder after Stabbing in Stoney Brook Township
There is new development in the murder case on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The husband of the victim has been released, and he is facing no charges. Instead, the woman who police had been searching for, Lydia Marie Barney, has been charged with second degree murder.
No Injuries in Early Morning Esko Structure Fire
Deputies say there were no injuries in an early morning structure fire in Esko Thursday. Crews responded to the 200 block of Nelson Road around 4:30 a.m. Deputies said the cause of the fire was not suspicious.
1 Dead, 1 Arrested in Cass County Crash
An Aitkin County man is in custody and another person is dead after a two-vehicle head-on collision in Cass County.