ST. PAUL (AP) — Minnesota Steel has now received two of the three environmental permits it needs to begin construction on its $1.6 billion taconite mine and steel mill planned for Nashwauk on the Iron Range, the company said.
The company said Tuesday that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had accepted the company's environmental impact study and have issued an ''adequacy decision'' on the plans.
The agencies issued wetlands and water quality permits in August. The final permit required is one for air quality from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. It is expected to make its air quality ruling on Friday.
If Minnesota Steel gets the air quality permit, the company will move ahead on its construction plans and move closer to being acquired by Essar Global of India.
The project would combine the operations of a taconite mine and steel mill, making it the first of its kind in Minnesota. The state government is scheduled to provide about $53 million in roads, gas lines and railroad infrastructure.
Supporters of the project say it will deliver 2,000 construction jobs, 700 full-time permanent jobs and 2,100 spin-off jobs to the Iron Range.
Environmentalists oppose any new mine or steel mills because of potential air, soil and water pollution.
Minnesota Steel Chairman and co-owner Joseph Bennett said in a statement Tuesday that exhaustive research has gone into the project to protect the environment.
''Minnesota Steel has worked diligently to ensure that our facility will reflect our commitment to being good environmental stewards,'' he said.