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US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

Last updated on: April 6, 2011 10:27 IST

US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

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Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC

An American Senator has thanked an Indian company for saving an iron-ore mine her grandfather worked in.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, praised Essar Americas, which is heavily invested in her state, for saving the mine.

Klobuchar, who was among several US lawmakers who attended a Capitol Hill reception hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry to release a study titled, 'Indian Roots, American Soil: A Look at Indian Companies in the US Economy', which reported that Indian-based companies were responsible for saving thousands of jobs in the US in recent years, first reminisced about her trip to India last year and her meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visit to the Taj Mahal.

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Image: Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Photographs: CII
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US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

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And then she said: "What I mostly want to talk about is the amazing investment that we've had in our state and the growing (Indian American) community.

"Our state loves business and we are actually the first per capita for Fortune 500 companies in Minnesota, but the northern part of Minnesota is really the part that's closest to my heart.

"This is where my relatives are from. My dad grew up there. My grandpa was an iron-ore miner and he worked 1,500 feet underground in the mines in Ely, Minnesota. He never graduated from high school. He saved money in coffee-cans and sent my dad to college. And I am here as a United States Senator and a grand-daughter of an iron-ore miner."

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Image: Dave Riggan, Sr Vice-President and CFO, Essar Minerals Americas.
Photographs: CII
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US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

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Klobuchar said: "My grandfather - who grew to be foreman of that mine- would never have envisioned that a company from India would step in during the most difficult period of the economic downturn.

"Essar has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars and is planning to invest around $2 billion, creating 2,000 jobs - and that is something that is near and dear to the hearts of people in Minnesota."

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Image: Essar plans to invest $2 billion in Minnesota.
Photographs: Reuters
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US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

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"Also, we know we have a friend in India," she said, and added: "We thank you so much for being such a great partner to our country, and mostly to my state and all of my friends and relatives in northern Minnesota."

Essar established its footprint in the US in 2003, and today, it has invested over $4.5 billion in its various operations spanning North America and has employee strength of over 11,500.

Following the first US acquisitions of E-Telequest and Aegis Communications in Texas in 2003, which now forms part of Aegis Communications, Essar continued to reinvent and establish itself as one of the leading Indian companies investing in North America.

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Image: Essar acquired Aegis Communications in 2003.
Photographs: Reuters
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US Senator thanks Essar for saving iron-ore mine

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It expanded is North American presence into core sectors such as steel and iron ore by acquiring Algoma Steel Inc, based in Sault Ste Marie in Ontario, Canada, and a 2 billion tonne iron-ore resources company in the US, now Essar Steel Minnesota LLC based in Nashwauk, Minnesota.

Continuing with its strategy to build a vertically integrated operation with iron ore and coal reserves, Essar acquired Trinity Coal Corporation, now Essar Minerals North America in early 2010.

These are strategic acquisitions, according to the CII report because Essar's mining operations "tie in closely into its steel manufacturing operations, providing a secured and stable resource base much desired in a cyclical commodity price environment for steel".

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Image: Canada's Algoma Steel was bought by Essar.
Photographs: Reuters
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The company has also entered the power sector in the Americas, with Essar Power, a byproduct based, fuel fired industrial co-generation facility at Algoma's Steel plant.

Essar's current investment in Minnesota of $1.3 billion is by far the largest Greenfield project in development ever undertaken by an Indian corporation in the US.

The company envisages to increase the total investment in building this manufacturing base to over $2 billion by 2014.

Essar Steel Minnesota now controls over 2 billion tonnes of iron ore resources, and over the next two years, the Greenfield investment will hire over 2,000 construction workers and upon commissioning, another 300 or more full time jobs will be created in Nashwauk.


Image: Essar has already invested $1.3 billion in Minnesota.
Photographs: Reuters
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