ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Minnesota Commissioner of Natural Resources Tom Landwehr issued this letter
to Essar Steel Minnesota. Following the issuance of that letter, Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement.
“This morning I instructed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to terminate Essar Steel Minnesota’s lease agreements with the State. The company has been told for the past nine months that the State would not extend those leases beyond July 1, 2016, unless it paid the full amounts it owed to Minnesota contractors and showed that it had the ability to carry its current construction project through to completion. The company has not done so, and has provided no reliable assurances that it will be able to do so in the foreseeable future.
"Meanwhile, I have met with Mr. Lourenco Goncalves, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources, who has expressed his strong desire to take the existing project to completion and add to it a DRI facility, if his company is assigned those state leases. The State of Minnesota will continue those negotiations with Cliffs and obtain a firm commitment to execute those plans, before the leases are re-assigned. Mr. Goncalves and I will travel to the Range on Tuesday to discuss his plans in greater detail.
"I remain dedicated to assuring that these state leases are utilized by a responsible entity to mine and process their resources, and to create more jobs and further economic growth on the Iron Range.”