New York, July 9 (IANS) Essar Steel Minnesota has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a US court after it failed to pay its mining leases, prompting the state’s Governor Mark Dayton to cancel them. The project involved iron ore pellet production of 7 million tonne per annum.
“This morning (Friday), I instructed the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to terminate Essar Steel Minnesota’s lease agreements with the state,” Governor Dayton said in a statement issued later in the day.
“The company has been told for the past nine months that the state would not extend those leases beyond July 1, unless it paid the full amounts it owed to Minnesota contractors and showed that it had the ability to carry its current construction project through to completion,” he said.
“The company has not done so, and has provided no reliable assurances that it will be able to do so in the foreseeable future,” he said, assigning the reason for the step.
The governor said he has also spoken to a suitor who has expressed a strong desire to take over the existing project to completion if the state leases are assigned to it.
In January this year, Essar Steel Minnesota had accepted the terms of Governor Dayton’s offer of a $66-million loan repayment — an initial $10 million by March 31 and the balance of $55.9 million broken down into 16 quarterly payments from March 31, 2017.