Jamestown, North Dakota.
15,000 people. At confluence of the James and Pipestem rivers, about 90 miles west of Fargo. Home to a state hospital and psychiatric prison (which sounds like something the MN DFL would build for Republicans, but it’s really pretty normal), a school for the profoundly handicapped, a college (my alma mater, as it happens), and a whooole bunch of agricultural businesses…
…and, soon, an iron mill.
A North Dakota company plans to build a $60 million iron producing plant near Jamestown, N.D., using iron ore concentrate from Minnesota.
A subsidiary of Bismarck-based Carbontec Energy Corp. called E-Nugget North Dakota LLC has unveiled plans to churn out 100,000 metric tons of iron annually using North Dakota sugar beet residue in the mix instead of coke coal.
It’s an interesting project; the plant will extract ore from tailings from the old iron mines up north that used to be economically un-feasible to extract. There are millions of tons of now-usable ore piled up up north.
It’s Minnesota ore, and the research has Minnesota ties…:
The E-Nugget iron making process was developed by Carbontec and Michigan Technological University over the past five years, including large-scale batch tests at a Minneapolis facility, John Simmons, president of Carbontec, said Monday. The company already has plans to expand to a 300,000-ton plant if the startup goes well.
But the plant is being built in North Dakota. Granted, it’s Jamestown, which – as it’s been throughout most of it’s history – has been safely tucked away from excessive prosperity. 100 miles east of the oil fields and their jobs, and 90 miles west from cha-cha, booming Fargo (yes, I said “cha-cha Fargo”; it makes sense in context), Jamestown is one of few parts of North Dakota that isn’t overheating economically so far.
But it’s not Flint or Newark or Cleveland. It’s not even Minneapolis, much less Grand Rapids or Virginia, unemployment-wise.
So why there?
Simmons said the Jamestown site is well-situated because of easy access to sugar beet residue feedstock and also because it is adjacent to a Great River Energy power plant and directly on the BNSF rail line. He said the iron ore concentrate could move from the Grand Rapids area to North Dakota in rail cars that move western coal east but generally have been empty on their return trip west.
“We can get the right quality material from Grand Rapids and the rail routes make sense,” Simmons said.
So let’s get this straight; Jamestown ND, which is about 90 miles from the sugar beet waste, and probably 300 from the iron ore tailings, gets the plant.
Magnetation expects to start construction on a fourth plant northwest of Coleraine this year. That plant will produce 2 million tons of concentrate [that's the part you dig up, before you process it into iron] annually and will be ready to feed a new Indiana pellet plant the company now is building to supply partner AK Steel with iron ore for its furnaces by 2015. That new Itasca County facility is expected to employ another 160 people. The Coleraine plant ultimately will shift to get its ore from traditional open pit mining. (The company has shelved plans to build a recovery plant at Calumet.)
Simmons noted Carbontec also created an E Nugget Minnesota LLC and considered building the plant in Minnesota using wood waste from logging sites as the reductant or binder. He said the company chose North Dakota instead, in part because it’s so much easier to get permits in North Dakota.
Score one for the DFL Environmental Lobby! More jobs exported to North Dakota!
Let’s let that one sink in; between taxes and permits, it’s cheaper to ship rock 300 miles than it is to process it in Minnesota.
Thanks, Minnesota DFL!