Over the past few years Cleveland Cliffs has invested $75 million at U-Tac, 100 million at Northshore, 50 million to buy property near Nashwauk, 110 million to buy out partners at its Michigan mines and 830 million to build an HBI plant In Toledo, Ohio.
For the record, the HBI plant was slated to be built near Nashwauk. Certain Iron Range political figures effectively sabotaged that by their back room promotion of Essar/Mesabi Metallics. That miscalculation cost the Iron Range 130 high paying jobs for the next 75 years, plus the construction jobs to build the facility.
In contrast to Cliffs’ $1.1 billion of investments, Essar/Mesabi Metallics continue to be propped up by these same Iron Range political figures. It is beyond bizarre how an honest politician does not recognize that Essar/Mesabi Metallics is nothing but a shell game with the intention of profiteering from iron ore deposits owned by the people of the Iron Range.
It is not well known that the Iron Range legislators gave undeserved credibility to Mesabi Metallics with the Bankruptcy Court and with the DNR. They signed a letter essentially declaring that Mesabi Metallics is a legitimate mining company and the preferred company of the Iron Range representatives to fund, build and operate the Nashwauk facility.
As a result, in early 2017 Mesabi Metallics was granted the pellet plant project from the Bankruptcy Court and was also granted continued control of the very valuable state's iron ore leases from the DNR. The leases were subject to strict construction time frames and substantial investments in the project.
Mesabi Metallics/Essar has since broken their promise and the iron ore lease agreement no less than five times. They continue, with the help of their political shills, to mislead the public over and over again in order to keep control of the people's iron ore.
It is long overdue that the iron ore leases should be pulled from the corrupt shell game of Mesabi Metallics/Essar and auctioned off to an actual, credible, legitimate iron ore mining company!
Frank Jenko, retired union president from Hibbing Taconite