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Dayton retreats as Essar pays some of its outstanding bills

NASHWAUK -- Essar Steel Minnesota has paid $20 million in overdue bills to contractors working on its Nashwauk taconite plant, a good-faith effort that has spurred Gov. Mark Dayton to back off calling a debt the company owes the state.Dayton earl...

NASHWAUK - Essar Steel Minnesota has paid $20 million in overdue bills to contractors working on its Nashwauk taconite plant, a good-faith effort that has spurred Gov. Mark Dayton to back off calling a debt the company owes the state.
Dayton earlier this week threatened to call in a nearly $66 million loan Essar owes the state if the company didn’t start paying contractors on time and for past due bills.
Essar has been dogged for years by allegations of late or nonpayment of contractors on the Nashwauk taconite plant under construction.
Dayton has repeatedly called that situation “unacceptable.’’ But on Friday he said officials from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board and state Department of Employment and Economic Development confirmed with Iron Range businesses that Essar in recent days had paid up $20 million in past due bills.
Moreover, Essar officials told state officials that representatives from an “international bank’’ are now at the Nashwauk site investigating whether to loan Essar money to pay additional past-due bills by the end of the year.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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