Cargill Enters Joint Venture with MN Mining Company
Wayzata-based Cargill, Inc., announced Thursday that it has entered into an agreement with Magnetation, Inc.-a mining company based in Nashwauk-to develop and use Magnetation's proprietary mineral processing technology.
Magnetation's mineral processing technology, called Rev3 Seperator, is a patent-pending technology that allows mining operators to recover a marketable, high-grade iron ore concentrate from low-grade iron deposits-including deposits left behind from prior mining and mineral processing operations.
The partnership, which includes an undisclosed financial contribution from Cargill, will help Magnetation to boost its production of recovered iron in Minnesota from 150,000 tons per year to 450,000.
Under the agreement, Cargill will have the exclusive right to jointly develop and apply the company's mining technology and market the recovered iron concentrate to its international iron ore customers.
The companies' agreement comes at a time when Minnesota's taconite, a low-grade iron ore, mining industry is rebounding to prerecession levels. Taconite mining and production-in which companies drill and blast to obtain the taconite, which typically consists of about 20 percent iron, and then grind it into a fine consistency-has long been a key industry in the northern Minnesota economy.
Bob Wagstrom, engineering specialist from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, recently told Twin Cities Business that he estimates 2010 production levels of between 34.3 million and 34.6 million tons-double 2009's production level of 17.1 million tons.
Based on trends from the past three months, Wagstrom projects that 2011 production levels will reach about 38 million to 39 million tons-similar to the quantities produced between 2004 and 2008.
Cargill is an international provider of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. It employs 131,000 people in 66 countries and is Minnesota's largest private company based on its revenue, which totaled $107.9 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.