REYNOLDS, Ind. (AP) — A Minnesota company says it is making good progress
toward opening within a year the $350 million factory in northern Indiana
where it plans to produce iron ore pellets.
Magnetation Inc. of Grand Rapids, Minn., announced in late 2012 it would
build the new factory at the site of an abandoned ethanol plant in the
White County town of Reynolds. Several large buildings for the factory are
under construction at the site about 25 miles north of Lafayette, the
Journal & Courier reported.
The company's goal is to start operations there during the second half of
2014, said Terry Nanti, general manager of the Reynolds pellet plant.
The nearby rail lines that helped draw Magnetation to the Reynolds site
also will need some work.
"We need to connect to the CSX line," Nanti said. "We've got a fair amount
of infrastructure in place but no connectivity to the line. We've got to
add about 7,000 more feet of rail internal to the site."
About 70 of the plant's anticipated 115 full-time workers have already
been hired, and 90 percent of the full-time staff should be hired by
March, he said.
The Magnetation site should be connected to the town's sewer and water
utilities by April, said Randy Mitchell, president of White County
Mitchell said the project has energized the farming town after a 2005 plan
promoted by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels to turn it into a hub of bioenergy
Daniels dubbed Reynolds BioTown USA and pledged to make it the first U.S.
community to meet all electricity and gas needs through renewable energy,
but the plan was hampered by changes in market conditions and financial
problems among some developers.
"It provides the shot in the arm that we need," Mitchell said. "Not many
localities can get an initial $350 million investment. This just seems to
have the opportunity for satellite support businesses all throughout the
Magnetation picked the Reynolds site despite passage of a Minnesota law
the company wanted to streamline environmental permitting for the new
The company has said the new plant will process iron ore concentrate from
northern Minnesota. The plant will produce iron ore pellets for West
Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel Corp., which is a minority owner of the
Magnetation subsidiary building the factory.