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Essar Minnesota bankruptcy decision delayed until June

View of Essar Steel's rock separator (at left) and the tailings pumphouse and concentrator (right) under construction near Nashwauk. (2015 file / News Tribune)

The future of the former Essar Steel Minnesota taconite project in Nashwauk will remain undecided for at least another month.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Friday delayed the final decision on the project's Chapter 11 bankruptcy until a June 13 court session. The hearing had been scheduled for May 22.

The bankruptcy proceedings have been moving toward approval of a plan by Roanoke, Va., billionaire Tom Clarke and his newly formed Chippewa Partners LLC to acquire what is now called Mesabi Metallics, the firm ushering the former Essar project through bankruptcy. A revised version of the plan was open for creditors other parties to review and comment on through Friday.

Essar pumped $1.8 billion into the Nashwauk project that now sits half built. Clarke has proposed finishing the project and merging with his newly acquired former Magnetation operations in Grand Rapids and eventually building an iron nugget plant on the site.