Plan to reorganize former Essar site takes big step forward - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Plan to reorganize former Essar site takes big step forward

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Virginia Billionaire Tom Clarke's plan to reorganize the bankrupt Essar Steel Site in Nashwauk has been approved by a bankruptcy court in Delaware.

The plan was approved this week after meeting set requirements. 

The former Essar, now known as Mesabi Metallics, has Chippewa Capital Partners and it's partner, GFG Alliance planning to salvage the Nashwauk Project. 

One of the necessary requirements is that construction at the unfinished plant site must begin by the end of September, and the taconite mine must be shipping 3-million tons of pellets a year by December 2020.

It's been 2 years since India based Essar Steel filed for bankruptcy, and  walked away from its Nashwauk Site, after investing over one billion dollars.

Larry Majewski, who's been in business in Nashwauk for 45 years, says he remembers the construction at the taconite pellet plant like it was yesterday. 

"There was a lot of construction people living in the area, it boosted a lot of activity in the small businesses." Said Majewski.

Majewski said while he's excited about the potential completion of the former Essar site, though he's cautiously optimistic, because he's seen this project fail once already. 

"I've been somewhat disappointed over the dozen or so years that Essar has gone up and down, running out of funds, stopping the project, restarting." Said Majewski. 

While Majewski remains cautious, Nashwauk mayor Ben DeNucci says the city is feeling very optimistic with the potential return of hundreds of Minnesotans to the workforce. 

"We're miners, this is where we work. If you survey the community, a substantial amount of people that live in Nashwauk and Keewatin, and surrounding areas, work in the mines, so this is very big for our communities." Said DeNucci. 

Majewski says the addition of hundreds of jobs in the area, would significantly help businesses like his. 

"...Supporting the businesses that are here, and giving the opportunity for more small business to either expand where they're at, or reopen again." Majewski said, for now, he's waiting and watching, "We're not going to believe it's going to happen until we see smoke from the stacks." 

DeNucci said the project still needs about $900 million dollars to get the plant operational.

DeNucci also said, before ground can be broken, they still need the bankruptcy hearings to conclude, as well as final closings on the sale but he says he's confident those things will get done. 

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