SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld a previous district court ruling affirming the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ decision to terminate Mesabi Metallics’ mineral leases near Nashwauk.
Rep. Julie Sandstede (DFL – Hibbing) issued the following statement:
“I’m very pleased by the Court of Appeals’ decision which will hopefully allow our region to finally change course and leave behind the years of headaches and shortcomings from Essar Steel and Mesabi Metallics. In addition to the failed promises of new mining jobs, the residents of Nashwauk have been on the hook for over $1 million of unpaid property taxes by Mesabi Metallics; this is unacceptable.
“Our communities deserve to know the natural resources in our region will be sourced and processed by companies with financial wherewithal, business sensibility, and a demonstrated interest in our region’s success. After the ruling, it’s time for state officials to fully engage with Cleveland Cliffs, a company best able to bring this project to fruition. The Nashwauk site could also extend the life of Hibbing Taconite, which is running out of ore. Therefore, this ruling comes at a critical time for that operation’s future, too.
“Even if the leases are awarded immediately, work won’t be underway overnight. Still, we have the opportunity to move forward expeditiously with a company that’s the best fit for the Iron Range, and I believe that to be Cliffs.”