Court: DNR had right to terminate mineral leases with Mesabi Metallics

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Good news for the DNR about their decision to terminate mineral leases with Mesabi Metallics. A judge has ruled the agency’s actions were effective. The termination was announced back in May of 2021.

He also ordered Mesabi to pay the DNR $17.5 million dollars in royalties.

Here’s the statement from the DNR:

"The Minnesota DNR is pleased with the court’s decision in the Mesabi Metallics matter. The court found that Mesabi Metallics failed to meet the terms of its agreements with the state and that the DNR’s termination of Mesabi’s mineral leases is effective. The court further ruled that the DNR is entitled to a monetary judgement of $17.5 million in royalties. These royalties are for the benefit of local communities and schools, the school trust fund and university system.

As the DNR has consistently said, our focus and priority is on facilitating an operational, value-added facility that optimizes the outstanding ore body at Nashwauk. Going forward we will carefully evaluate our options for doing this and will consider putting the leases up for bid or negotiating with qualified parties."

Cleveland-Cliffs and U.S. Steel are both interested in that ore.