Governor Dayton's Jobs Tour Stops on Iron Range

By KBJR News 1

October 3, 2012 Updated Oct 3, 2012 at 8:20 PM CDT

Coleraine, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's "Working for Minnesota Jobs" tour made a stop on the Iron Range Wednesday.

Governor Dayton toured iron ore processor, Magnetation, which recycles tailings into marketable iron ore concentrate. The company uses patented technology to complete the process, innovation that the Governor says he wants to further.

"We want to do whatever we possibly can to further their [Magnetation's] growth in Minnesota," Governor Dayton said.

Following his tour of the Magnetation site, Governor Dayton met with mining industry leaders to discuss how to help the industry grow.

One of the many topics discussed was the amount of time it takes mining projects on the Iron Range to obtain required permits.

"We're competing against iron ore producers in China and when you have that much volatility, to have permitting of three, four years ahead of that makes financing projects and executing projects very challenging," said Magnetation's Matt Lehtinen during the discussion.

Governor Dayton says he'd like to see the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's target of making permitting decisions within 150 days decreased to 90 days.

"We don't want to compromise on the environmental protection, but we want to get it resolved quickly," he said, "I'd like to see it less than 90 days."

Representatives from Essar Steel Minnesota and the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) shared their experiences in the industry and suggestions for growth.

"We need to continue to work on efficiencies, costs and maintaining competitiveness in this very competitive world," said NRRI Director, Dr. Michael Lalich.

Focus on the mining industry continues later this week.
A mining subcabinet, made up of representatives from the IRRRB, DEED, the DNR and the PCA will tour the majority of the mining facilities on the Iron Range Thursday and Friday to assess how to further the projects.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.