Essar Steel Holdings held a groundbreaking ceremony for the steelmaking facility it has planned to build in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Essar unveiled Essar Steel Minnesota, LLC as the new name for the steelmaking project. The new $1.6 billion steelmaking facility will be North America’s first mine-based steel plant. In addition to iron ore mining and production, the project will include a concentration plant, pellet plant, direct-reduced iron plant and steelmaking facilities. At full production, the facility will employ 500 people.

Production from the new steelmaking facility will support the Essar Algoma plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Essar is targeting production of iron ore pellets within approximately two years from the start of construction. Production of DRI pellets and steel slabs is expected to begin in the fifth and sixth years, respectively.