Iron ore_ProjectsMonitor
Madhu Vuppuluri
President and CEO
Essar Steel Minnesota LLC

Essar Steel Minnesota LLC has achieved financial closure to complete the construction of its fully permitted open-pit iron ore mine, crushing, concentrating and pelletizing facilities in Minnesota, USA, which will have an annual pellet production capacity of 7 million tonnes, a company release said.

With this financing in place, ESML will ramp up procurement activities and construction activities at the project site. In the next 30 to 60 days, construction activities at the ESML site will focus on completion of foundational and concrete work before the winter freeze-up.

ESML is anticipating extensive construction activities at the project site during the winter months with the focus on erecting steel for numerous structures, installation of sheeting on buildings, and the installation of numerous pieces of machinery and equipment in the facilities. The company anticipates commencing production of taconite pellets in the second half of 2015.

ESML has already invested approximately $1 billion in the project to date. Other highlights of the ESML project:

* A $1.8 billion capital investment in the Mesabi Iron Range region of Minnesota — the largest economic development project on the Iron Range in over four decades.

* A mine life of over 70 years which will support three generations of miners and their families.

* The only facility in the United States with the flexibility to produce standard, fluxed and DR grade pellets.

The project is estimated to generate approximately $180 million per year in new tax revenues for Minnesota at full capacity production.

Madhu Vuppuluri, President and CEO, Essar Steel Minnesota LLC, said: “This truly is a momentous occasion for our Company and for the Iron Range as we now have in place the necessary financing to complete this historic project which will be a tremendous economic engine to the benefit of the Iron Range and its residents for the next several decades. By having completed the necessary financing for this project, we look forward to moving aggressively toward project completion and commencement of production. We thank the community for their continued support for the project.”

Key Points

* Essar Group acquired the state-of-the-art open pit mine and greenfield pellet plant project located
on the Mesabi Range in Minnesota, USA, in October 2007.

* The project involves the construction and commissioning of an iron ore pellet plant with a total
production capacity of 7 million tpa of iron ore pellets.

* Initial commissioning to begin in Q2 2015. Full 7 million tpa production capacity to be achieved
by Q1 2016.

* The project is located over approximately 19,000 acres of land, of which 4,360 acres are
mineral lease land with completed infrastructure for iron ore operations and export.

* Environmental permits have been received for construction and operations of up to
7 million tpa capacity.

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