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.
One Dead after Home Invasion in Ray, Minn.
The Koochiching County Sheriff's Office responded to 5741 Highway 53 around 6 a.m. on Saturday in regards to a shooting that was a result of a home invasion. The suspect later died from his injuries at the Rainy Lake Medical Center.
Search for Missing Hurley Man May Be Over
Ironwood officials said that the search for a missing Hurley man may be over after a vehicle was found submerged in 10 feet of water. The Public Safety Department posted to their Facebook page that the vehicle was found in Ironwood in the caves near Alfred Wright Boulevard.
DFL Makes Campaign Push in Minnesota
Summer is here to enjoy, but an election is just 100 days away so politicians and their supporters are ramping up campaigns in Minnesota. DFLers gathered in Duluth to hit the streets and win over voters on Sunday.
Car Accident Near Moose Lake Injures Three People
A serious two vehicle accident on County Road 61 south of Moose Lake brought three people to the hospital Sunday afternoon.
Virginia Fire Under Investigation
A porch fire in Virginia Sunday morning is currently under investigation. The Virginia Fire Department responded to a fire at 309 1/2 6th Avenue North in Virginia around 6 a.m.