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Ready to work: Coleraine community ‘hopeful’ for new mining venture

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COLERAINE, MN -- A mining town without a mine.

"There isn't a lot of industry-type business in Coleraine," said Daniel Mandich, the city's mayor.

But, he recalls, it wasn't always that way.

"People were very excited when Magnetation came and it seemed to be a really good fit for the area."

That includes lifelong Coleraine resident Ron Maki.

“When Magnetation was here a few years back it was great. There was iron ore on the floor so they were coming in and spending money here.”

Maki owns the Locker Room Bar and Grill in downtown Coleraine.

He's been in the business for 21 years and has experienced what a boom and bust can do to a small town.

“Every business around here is affected by big business like the mining industry and people make a living off of that. And when that goes so does small business."

That's what happened in 2015 when ERP Iron Ore, formerly Magnetation, filed for bankruptcy and shut down its operation.

“Well, it was kind of a shock to the community because they were a big employer," said Maki. "The biggest employer around here."

Then, just last week, an announcement came that the community had been hoping for. Prairie River Minerals announced plans to revamp the former site.

"It's very exciting to me and most everyone I've met in town is excited about this too," said Mayor Mandich. "Coleraine has been in a little slump for awhile here."

While details about the project are limited at this time, it's clear the community is ready to get back to work.

"We could really use it," said Mandich. "And it's exciting that they're coming here and hopefully it will work out."

Maki agreed and said despite some ups and downs in the area, he's leaning on hope.

“Hope, yeah. Cause we need that, especially these days."

Prairie River Minerals said it expects to begin construction on the site in April.

As far as how many jobs will be created, company spokespeople aren't giving exact numbers. They anticipate hiring 25 to 30 people initially, and expect those job numbers to grow in 2021 once things get underway.

Kristen Vake

Anchor, Reporter

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