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Essar: Maybe a Partnership for Another Plant

Posted at: 12/13/2012 6:30 PM

On Thursday, Essar Steel officials laid out what they've been working on, in terms of a DRI plant.

DRI is Direct Reduced Iron, and is a high concentration of iron that can be fed directly to the steel mills.  It looks larger than iron ore pellets.

Essar is in negotiations with other companies, to possibly build a DRI plant. And the location could be in Nashwauk, the site of the $1.5 billion dollar taconite facility.

But there are other potential site as well, according to Essar Projects Director, Steve Rutherford. "We are stumping for Minnesota. We have the permits already. We are trying to bring an over-the-fence partnership for this plant to Minnesota," he said.

Essar has originally planned on being a mining-through-steelmaking plant. But in August, leaders said that the DRI progress would depend on the market.

On Thursday, members of the IRRRB agreed to extend the deadline for the loan to Essar. The deadline had been coming up on December 31st.

Also at the meeting, the board approved $800,000 for the Film Production Incentive program. This is to help bring two movie-makers to the region, to film here. "It's a rebate program. So they have to show us their receipts, to get the money back. We are encouraging them to buy things here," said Commissioner Tony Sertich.

One potential movie that could be filmed here is "Thanksgiving at Denny's," an adult comedy that could be come in early 2013. The other project is still not public.

The board also OK'd $7.8 million dollars in public work grants, and $8.7 million for mining companies to re-invest in their plants.

It was the last meeting for Rep. Tom Rukavina and several others. There were a few jokes and pokes at the outspoken lawmaker. He did thank co-workers, and staff at the IRRRB, along with his constituents, for the experiences he's had.

The new IRRRB will be appointed after the legislature convenes in January.