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Mesabi Metallics meets deadline, DNR to decide next steps

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NASHWAUK, MN -- The clock was ticking for Mesabi Metallics to complete specific actions put in place by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Nashwauk project.

According to the agency, Mesabi Metallics has turned in a number of documents just in the nick of time. The deadline for submission was Saturday, May 1st.

"We received a number of documents from Mesabi Metallics over the weekend," said Jess Richards, Assistant Commissioner at the DNR. "Our team is in the process of reviewing the submittals to determine whether they meet the requirements of the 2020 lease amendment."

Mesabi Metallics had to provide the DNR with documents ensuring a number of things including an $850 million financing commitment. The company also has to prove they can finish the primary crusher by December 31, 2021, and the entire facility by June 30, 2024, among other things.

While Richards said he can't share any more information until the review is complete, the agency did make it clear that Mesabi has to meet all requirements put in place or the DNR could pull the state's mineral leases, which are necessary for the project to move forward.

Meanwhile, some Iron Range lawmakers are waiting to see what the DNR decides. In the past, deadlines have been missed by Mesabi Metallics and previous owners of the project, including Essar Steel. That has prompted some elected officials to ask the DNR not to extend the leases again if requirements aren't met.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on what the DNR decides in the coming weeks.

Kristen Vake

Anchor, Reporter

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