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New Taconite Plant Slated for Minnesota

Written by Sandy Williams

While other iron ore mining operations are temporarily shutting down due to the impact of the coronavirus on iron ore demand, Prairie River Minerals plans to start construction this month on a multimillion dollar ore processing plant in Minnesota.

Prairie River bought the assets of bankrupt Magnetation in Coleraine and Keewatin for $1.9 million in 2019. PRM plans to process leftover iron ore waste tailings at its new demonstration plant at the Jessie Loadout facility. Construction is expected to be completed during fall of 2020.


The new company will be led by CEO Larry Sutherland, who recently retired as general manager of Minnesota Ore Operations at U.S. Steel. “I am excited to join the PRM team and help develop this innovative business utilizing ore stockpiled from the early days of MN iron mining,” said Sutherland. “We’ll bring good paying union jobs to this region, be environmentally friendly, and benefit our local communities and the State of Minnesota.”

Technical director will be Johann Grobler, the developer of the Ultra-High Dense Medium Separation technology.

Magnetation entered bankruptcy in May 2015 and was sold to ERP Iron Ore, which failed to develop the property as planned. ERP, led by Tom Clarke, filed for bankruptcy in 2018.


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