Mesabi Metallics seeks reissuance on air quality permit

Contact: Andrea Cournoyer, 612-438-8932

Mesabi Metallics Co. LLC has applied to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to reissue its air quality permit. The MPCA has reviewed the application and is asking for public input on the draft permit.

The draft air permit covers operations at the Mesabi Metallics facility near Nashwauk. The main sources of emissions at the facility are dust from mining, material crushing and handling sources, combustion emissions from the pellet furnace, direct reduced iron (DRI) module and electric furnace, and dust from the tailings basin.

The draft permit approves modifications to the pellet plant's equipment to update and refine its design and operation. It also approves Best Available Control Technology and tightens the emission limits for these modified emission units. The modifications do not include any change — increase or decrease — in the amount of pellets that Mesabi Metallics is allowed to produce annually. The draft permit also requires the company to:

  • Re-evaluate the design and Best Available Control Technology of the DRI plant and steel plant before construction commences for each plant.
  • Comply with the approved mercury reduction plan, which includes a 72-percent reduction in the uncontrolled mercury emissions from the pellet furnace.
  • Conduct a moisture content study to verify control efficiency assumptions for unpaved roads.
  • Conduct performance tests to demonstrate compliance with emission limits.

The MPCA requests public comments on the draft air quality permit between August 14  and September 14, 2020. After the public comment closes, the MPCA will review any comments and, if necessary, make changes to the draft permit. The proposed permit will then be sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a 45-day review period. At the conclusion of the 45-day review, MPCA will review the administrative record and decide whether to issue the permit.

Visit the MPCA project page for more information. Send written comments to Ben Wenkel (651-757-2603), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., St. Paul, MN 55155 by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020. Comments must state your interest, the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references, and specific reasons supporting your position.