Posted at: 08/02/2013 11:15 AM
Updated at: 08/02/2013 10:37 PM
Essar Steel Minnesota invited us last August to view the progress of their massive project in Nashwauk. But then, a few weeks later, they announced a slowdown in construction.
Things have not ramped up since then. And on Friday, Eyewitness News confirmed a Star Tribune media report that the plant may not open for at least a year.
The plan is to build a 7 million ton per year pellet plant, and mine the taconite on site.
CEO Madhu Vuppuluri said the delay was due to financing. He said they have raised $1.1 billion dollars, and have spent that much. But they still need $600 million to finish the project.
Local Essar leaders acknowledged there is frustration with the setbacks, but that they are frustrated too. They cite that theirs is the largest private capital project in North America, and possibly the world.
Elected leaders from across the region said they have been kept in the loop about the projected delays.
Trish Kline, the Itasca County Administrator, said that most of the infrastructure is done, and they are confident the project will be done.