MN Supreme Court won’t review decision to pull Mesabi Metallics’ mineral leases

Mesabi Metallics
Mesabi Metallics(KBJR 6)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 6:15 PM CST
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NASHWAUK, MN -- The Minnesota Supreme Court decided Tuesday it will not review the DNR’s ruling that pulled Mesabi Metallics’ mineral leases.

Mesabi Metallics has been hoping to build a mining and pelletization plant on the former Essar site in Nashwauk.

Work was already underway there when the Minnesota DNR pulled the company’s mineral leases in May 2021.

DNR leaders claimed Mesabi Metallics didn’t meet the terms of the lease agreement, for reasons such as not making certain payments on time.

Company spokespeople said earlier this month they have since gotten back up to date on the payments and recently invested millions more into the project.

After two lower courts ruled in the DNR’s favor, Mesabi Metallics also asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review the DNR’s decision.

On Tuesday, the justices denied their request, according to an opinion shared online.

In a statement following that news, Mesabi Metallics spokespeople remained optimistic, saying their project remains “compelling and exciting.”

“Mesabi Metallics is the only entity that has the permits to develop the mine facility at the Nashwauk site. We are the logical counterparty for the DNR to partner with to develop and mine the rich iron ore resources in Nashwauk,” Larry Sutherland, Mesabi Metallics’ Chief Operating Officer, wrote.

It was not immediately clear what will happen next to the mineral leases.

Cleveland Cliffs leaders have expressed interest, as they anticipate their HibTac site in Hibbing will run out of iron ore in the next few years.

They hope securing the leases to the site in Nashwauk could keep their operation running and hundreds of people employed.