Superior still in the running for Magnetation expansionDouglas County Administrator Andy Lisak likes to think a site in Superior is perfect for an iron pellet plant.
By: Mike Creger, Duluth News Tribune
Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak likes to think a site in Superior is perfect for an iron pellet plant.
He probably became more convinced this week when officials from Magnetation Inc. announced that they were through trying to put a pellet plant in Itasca County. The company employs 150 people at two iron ore recovery and concentration operations on the Iron Range and now is looking for somewhere to put a plant that would make pellets out of the ore.
Lisak said the permitting process could go more smoothly in Superior, where a site has been prepared in Parkland Industrial Park.
“We think this is the best place,” Lisak said. “We’re in the Northland.”
Magnetation’s decision against Minnesota is not a surprise. Early this year, CEO Larry Lehtinen hinted the company was leaning toward a plant outside of the Iron Range with Superior and a site in Indiana in the running.
Magnetation President Matt Lehtinen made the announcement Monday at a Chamber of Commerce lunch in Grand Rapids. He said the site selection was down to the two sites.
“That’s the bad news,” Lehtinen said, adding that the good news is the pellet plant will keep the current operations going.
Magnetation’s first plant is outside of Keewatin and has been expanded several times. A second plant is near Taconite and started production in May. A third plant is expected to go online near Chisholm later this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.