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Pellet plant, ore project moves forward

ST. PAUL — Minnesota leaders have approved a lease agreement with a company that intends to complete construction on a pellet plant and another facility to produce high-grade iron ore.

Minnesota Public Radio reports the governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state auditor approved the agreement Monday with Chippewa Capital Partners.

The deal gives the company and its investors until August 31 to secure at least $850 million in financing. The state could cash in a $4 million line of credit if the company defaults.

Work on the pellet processing plant in Nashwauk must begin before October and finish by December 2019. Construction on a separate production facility on the Iron Range would begin in 2018 and end by 2022.