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Mesabi Metallics buys 3,200 acres in Itasca County

ITASCA COUNTY, MN -- A mining company with a history of tension with the state has purchased thousands of acres of land in Itasca County.

Mesabi Metallics announced Tuesday the company has acquired 3,200 acres of land from Butlertac Holdings LLC (Butlertac).

The land interests include mineral and surface leases, all lying within the Biwabik Iron Formation in the vicinity of the former Butler mine corridor in Itasca County.

It's not immediately clear what Mesabi Metallics has planned for the land.

Mesabi Metallics' President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Sutherland says this move strengtens the company's presence on the Iron Range and "reaffirms its commitment" to completing its taconite mining and pelletization project in Nashwauk.

“It brings us one step closer to completing and running a facility that will provide more than 350 well-paying operations jobs plus 800 spinoff jobs,” Sutherland said.

Mesabi Metallics' mineral leases for the Nashwauk site are now held up in court.

At the beginning of May, the Minnesota DNR ordered Mesabi Metallics to prove it had $200 million immediately available for the project. But on May 5, the DNR said that requirement was not met.

The DNR said they planned to move forward with terminating the company's leases.

At the time, Sutherland claimed Mesabi Metallics have all the money needed to get the project started, they just want confirmation the state will not pull their leases.

Briggs LeSavage

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