Clarke Provides Update, Cliffs Calls Part of it False

Tom Clarke has put out an update about his companies, ERP Iron Ore and Mesabi Metallics. Tom Clarke has put out an update about his companies, ERP Iron Ore and Mesabi Metallics. |  Photo: Tom Clarke

Updated: July 17, 2018 04:50 PM

The war of words continues between the leaders of Mesabi Metallics and Cleveland-Cliffs.

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Tuesday, Tom Clarke sent out a two-page update about both Mesabi and ERP Iron Ore. In it, it said Mesabi is owned by Chippewa Capital Partners, which is a joint venture between Merida Natural Resources and Nubai Global Investment. Merida is owned by Tom and his wife Ana Clarke.

It goes on to say that Mesabi's bankruptcy plan includes a provision allowing ERP and Mesabi to combine or integrate business operations. The statement goes on to say, "Magnetation mechanic lienholders are also expected to receive payments, if ERP provides liens as security to Mesabi's Senior and Junior lenders."

As for the bankruptcy petition related to ERP Iron Ore, ERP is seeking to convert an involuntary bankruptcy to a voluntary action to protect all creditors including the mechanic lienholders. "ERP will promptly submit a plan for reorganization allowing for the future production of iron ore pellets, and the ERP bankruptcy will be funded by Merida, and not impact the  Mesabi financing or construction plans."

It then lays out the background of their financing with Riverdale Commodities, a Swiss-based commodities trading firm, saying some of the principals previously held positions with Essar related companies. "Riverdale has verified its owners are not affiliated with any Essar related company."

Then, it goes on to say Mesabi has committed to providing crude ore to Hibbing Taconite in order to extend the life of Hibbing Taconite and preserve Iron Range jobs. "Tom Clarke has personally reached out to Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. CEO Lourenco Goncalves to provide crude ore to Hibbing Taconite."

Goncalves told Eyewitness News that the statement includes lies, including the line about Mesabi Metallics committed to providing crude ore, and the line that Tom Clarke has personally reached out to Goncalves.

Goncalves said, "If they reached out to me, I wouldn't have taken that call. The only place I would talk to Tom Clarke is in court."

The two sides do have pending litigation between them. In fact, Cliffs sent a statement out saying that Cliffs expects to prevail in court over issues regarding ownership and mining rights in Nashwauk. And that Clarke's statement was sent, "to create confusion and doubt among Cliffs' customers and others with whom it does business. As a consequence of today's false statements, Cliffs is working with its litigation counsel to consider additional legal action against Mesabi Metallics and Clarke."

Finally, Clarke's statement read, "We have invested $263 million dollars in the last 17 months and are committed to spending an additional $1.6 billion in Minnesota, as we work together on the Iron Range to build the world's most modern ironmaking facility."

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