Friday, June 08, 2012 By Aaron Brown
Permitting issues are the top reason, according to the company. Magnetation President Matt Lehtinen made the announcement to a gathering of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday, while his father CEO Larry Lehtinen discussed it with WDIO.
That being said, recent legislation passed by Rep. Tom Anzelc (DFL-Balsam) would have created a 10-month path to permitting for the company, within its previously stated timeline. It would appear other factors are also at play in this decision. Given the investment of Iron Range resources in Magnetation over the last few years this development is a disappointment. A final decision on the plant location is expected at the end of 2012, after the election, so perhaps more can be done.
Magnetation will, however, build two more concentrate plants in Itasca County, creating a total of five scram mining sites in northern Minnesota. While Minnesota could lose the 100 jobs that would have come with the pellet plant it stands to gain 200 jobs in ore extraction.
I wrote about Magnetation's plans to seize a chunk of the domestic taconite market in April.