Essar looks for help in financing Iron Range plant

Steel plant site
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in summer 2008 for the Essar Steel plant in Nashwauk, Minn. on the Iron Range. The company now says it's having trouble raising the money it needs to finance the $1.6 billion project.
MPR Photo/Bob Kelleher

(AP) - Essar Steel is having trouble getting private financing for the construction of a $1.6 billion taconite-to-steel industrial complex near Nashwauk.

Essar estimates the project will employ up to 2,000 construction workers and when complete will employ nearly 500 people at full production.

Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, doesn't want to miss out on that. So he has met with two of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's top staff members in an effort to get the governor involved.

The president of Essar's North American operations, Madhu Vuppuluri, stresses that the company is not seeking taxpayer money, just help getting a private sector loan.

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The company executive says Essar has used its own money to keep the project on schedule so far, including recently extending a multi-million contract to grade the site.


Information from: The Daily Tribune,

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)