(AP) - A proposed iron nugget plant on the Iron Range is taking a big step forward.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty has approved $16.5 million in Iron Range Resources financing for construction of the Mesabi Nugget plant, near the cities of Aurora and Hoyt Lakes.
Mesabi Nugget will also receive a $10 million loan from the Minnesota Minerals 21st Century Fund administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The plant would be built at the site of the former LTV Steel Mining Company site.
The plant would make iron nuggets that are about 97 percent pure, which makes them a good fit for electric-arc steel furnaces. Taconite pellets contained about 65 percent iron and are used in older style blast furnaces.
The plan is for steelmaker Steel Dynamics Inc. to build and operate the plant in Hoyt Lakes, with technical help from Kobe Steel. It's projected to produce a half-million tons of iron nuggets each year and directly employ 50 people.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)