IRRRB Restructures Loan to Excelsior Energy

By KBJR News 1

June 17, 2013 Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 8:34 AM CDT

Eveleth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Excelsior Energy's Mesaba energy project has been an ongoing concern on the Iron Range for almost a decade.

The IRRRB granted the company a loan of more than $9 million dollars over 10 years ago, but they have yet to see anything come out of the project.

Monday the board considered restructuring that loan.

It's been over a decade since Excelsior Energy was granted the loan but the project still has not come to fruition. This has some board members concerned.

"A good outcome has proved to be very elusive with this particular project," says State Representative Tom Anzelc.

During Monday's meeting the board considered restructuring the $9.15 million loan in hopes of getting the project moving or getting state funding back.

"I wanted to make sure we planned for every scenario because I know the path we are down right now will not work and so we needed to change course and I think this is the best alternative," says IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich.

The restructuring would do four things.

It would defer any yearly repayments while maintaining the interest calculated at 3% annually.

If the project is built by 2019, Excelsior would pay back $1 million each year until the loans are repaid.

If the project isn't built by 2019, the IRRRB would have the power to take over all project assets.

If the IRRRB chooses to sell the project, Excelsior will receive 25% of all proceeds.

Lastly, it would allow the project to develop energy sources other than coal; something that Excelsior Energy officials say will help greatly in jump–starting the project.

"So now it looks like the country is awash in natural gas which hopefully will remain inexpensive so instead of building an entire coal plant we'll build just the natural gas part of it first," says Co-President & CEO of Excelsior Energy Inc., Tom Micheletti.

While specifics of the reconstruction were debated, commissioner Sertich says it's better than doing nothing.

"If we don't do anything and this company just throws up its hands and walks away, then we're out 9.1 million dollars. This at least gives us an opportunity," says Sertich.

To see the full terms of the proposed loan restructuring you can visit: Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board

Elsa Robins