Dayton Meets Mesabi Metallics CEO, Leaders in Nashwauk

Updated: September 11, 2018 06:43 PM

It's a day of meetings about Mesabi Metallics. Governor Mark Dayton traveled to Nashwauk to meet with the CEO, Gary Heasley. Dayton told Heasley, "We've all been burned so many times."


Dayton said Heasley told him that 23 people are working on the project now. As for what's next, the governor said, "They'll be doing $30-$40 million dollars worth of engineering yet this year, and then ramp up construction in March. They've invested $200 million already."

Dayton then briefed leaders from Itasca County at Nashwauk City Hall.  Both meetings were closed to the press. Dayton told the press, "The point I told the mayors was, we have no other options. This is a really bumpy road, and cliffs on either side." He said he shares all of their frustrations, as he's seen the same assurances and same promises, over his 7.5 years as governor.

There will be a weekly conference call about the project, including the Governor, local leaders, and Mesabi Metallics, according to Dayton. "We want to have good communication."

Following the morning meeting, Heasley issued a statement thanking Dayton for being  "steadfast champion" of the project.

"While there have been several interruptions in the development of this project over the years, Mesabi Metallics remains the only entity that can move this mine project forward. The governor and state agencies have taken prudent steps to create multi-generational mining jobs on the Range," Heasley said.

"As we told the governor this morning, Mesabi Metallics and Chippewa Capital Partners continue to invest in engineering and construction on the site to move this project forward," he continued.

The project, which broke ground in 2008, has been facing delays and leadership problems for years, especially after Essar filed for bankruptcy.

Tom Clarke and his group gained control, but then Clarke was ousted as the leader. Now Nubai Global and Heasley are in charge.

IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips said, "They intend to work all through the winter, and close up the concentrator:"

Senator Dave Tomassoni added, "Boy, hopefully this is the one and it's going to happen."

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