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Essar Steel postpones Nashwauk plant's opening date

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Essar Steel Minnesota says production of a low-grade iron ore that was scheduled to begin next year will now be pushed back until 2012.

The company says it ran into delays in securing financing, though Essar Steel officials have said they're still committed to building the plant.

The facilities would produce taconite and iron-ore pellets. They would create an estimated 500 jobs in Nashwauk.

State Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam, says he's disappointed in the latest delay. But he says he's heartened that signs point to increased taconite demand in coming years.

The company says it's also considering modifications to the plant that could increase production almost 60 percent. The Duluth News Tribune says that would mean further delays for renewed environmental-impact studies.