Magnetation Expansion Plans Sweep Across Borders

By KBJR News 1

August 12, 2011 Updated Aug 12, 2011 at 6:56 PM CDT

NASHWAUK-KEEWATIN, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---An innovative way to mine is sweeping across the Iron Range and across international borders.

Minnesota Power will now provide electricity for Magnetation, a company that produces iron concentrate from previously mined ore on the Iron Range.

The agreement comes as a tangible sign of how strongly Magnetation is moving forward.

"There's a sense of a range renaissance if you will, and MN Power's role is really to make sure that we are working closely with these business so that we can provide the most cost competitive rates so that they can compete on a global level," Amy Rutledge of MN Power said.

Plans to expand Magnetation to that global level have already been put into gear.

Last January, Magnetation announced its partnership with Cargill, one of the largest privately owned corporations in the United States.

Since then, the two have been looking world wide for potential sites to develop magnetation plants.

"We haven't zeroed in on one yet, but we do have a lot of interesting prospects we are considering," Larry Lehtenin, CEO of Magnetation said. "That work is progressing, it's a long term effort that we're going to continue working with Cargill on."

Meanwhile, development plans of a new expansion site near Taconite continue.

"We've procured most of the long lead items, they are on their way here," Lehtenin said. "Some of the things have many months delivery, all the long lead items have been ordered and we're putting the final touches on financing for the plant."

The new plant will use three of the Rev3 Separators, Magnetation's patented technology that will generate an expected 800,000 tons of concentrate per year.

Lehtinen says he plans to use the Rev3 Separator with any new international ventures as well.

"Today we've got a major investment and know-how and capabilities of the various people that contribute to the design and manufacture of the Rev3 Separator," Lehtinen said. "That's centered in Hibbing, and I think the farthest supplier we have to it is one in Proctor. Everything else is right from the Iron Range."

A working arrangement that benefit's not just the Iron Range but the entire Northland.

Magnetation has recently begun plans for a third plant, in a joint venture with Steel Dynamics, which will be located southeast of Chisholm.

CEO Larry Lehtinen expects the plant will be up and running by this time next year.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch