Updated: 12/20/2013 10:37 PM
Created: 12/20/2013 4:32 PM WDIO.com
Project investments totaling $8.6 million were approved at Friday's IRRRB meeting in Eveleth.
The projects have a total investment of $47.2 million and support the projected creation of 351 jobs.
The board approved $6.66 million in infrastructure grants for projects. It is projected that 336 jobs will be created, many of them in the trades.
Commissioner Tony Sertich said this is the key time for approval on these projects, so construction can begin this upcoming season. They had applications for about 60 projects, and had funding for about 30.
In addition, $6.8 million from the Mine Reinvestment Program (Taconite Economic Development Fund) was approved for projects after quite a long debate.
The mining companies pay a production tax, in lieu of property taxes. A portion of that production tax can be rebated back to the companies, for capital investment.
Representative Carly Melin disagrees with the way the system is working now, as does Representative Tom Anzelc.
Senator Tom Bakk said "It's helped leverage money in corporate boardrooms, and meant more investment in Minnesota. The mines already do millions of dollars of investment in their plants that we don't even know about on this level." But he does want to have more conversations with the mines in the future.
A change was made to legislation last year, which means the companies must provide a $1 for $1 match in 2014.
Also, the board approved a loan for the city of Biwabik for an expansion at Laurentian Monument, Granite, and Stone.
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