Updated: April 01, 2021 12:48 PM
Created: March 31, 2021 05:55 PM
We are one month away from the May 1st deadline for the Mesabi Metallics project to meet certain requirements. The deadline was set by the state, in order to amend the mineral lease agreement. That vote took place in December.
The company sent a statement sharing more about their progress. Here are some highlights, according to the statement:
1) Hiring of project director Mark Perczuk, who has guided projects of similar size and scope.
2) Securing an offtake agreement with a large global trading firm for both domestic and international sales of iron ore pellets.
3) Recruiting for construction, operating, and support teams.
4) Engineering on several critical path facilities.
Itasca County Board Chair Ben DeNucci said they were able to collect on past due royalties earlier this past year. "It's significant amount of money, for struggling places in Itasca County." He estimated it was around $3 million dollars for the royalties. And there was money distributed for infrastructure and property taxes as well.
He said he's met some of the potential bankers who've visited the site. And he's looking forward to more people clocking in to build it. "They continue to prepare the site for construction activities," he said.
Range lawmakers remain skeptical. "You better have your i's dotted and t's crossed, and stand the true test," Rep. Dave Lislegard said during last weekend's virtual town hall. "There's so much misinformation and false promises," he added, concerned about the years of problems at the site.
He and fellow representative Julie Sandstede, along with senators Dave Tomassoni and Tom Bakk, have authored bills to preserve permits for the project, if Mesabi can't meet the requirements.
"It's either 100% you've met the goal, and let them move on, or we're done. It's not Groundhog's Day," Sandstede said.
DeNucci doesn't believe it will be. He recently had a call with the DNR. "We received a positive report back from the DNR. Basically there are milestones that have to be hit, leading up to May 1st. And in general, all of those things are in progress. And making positive progress."
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