Minnesota Governor opposes state funds to Iran-tied company

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said today that Essar Global has committed to fully comply with all U.S. and international law, including those prohibiting certain investments in Iran, and that he will support continued state assistance for Essar’s proposed steel project on the Iron Range.

A few days after Indian company Essar Steel Holdings Limited acquired Minnesota Steel LLC, the governor of Minnesota announced that he "will strongly oppose any effort to provide state financial assistance to companies or entities that engage in prohibited business practices with Iran."

Governor Pawlenty recently returned from a trip to India. He learned that Indian company Essar Global Limited is pursuing a project to build a refinery in southern Iran.

There is no official word yet from Essar Group, but Iran's Petroenergy Information Network says Essar Group is expected to take a 60% stake in the project and that Essar's Ravi Ruia was negotiating for the project in Iran last week.

The northern Minnesota project will be the first facility which includes all steps in steel production from iron mining to a US$1.65 billion steel mill. The Iranian refinery will have a capacity of 300,000 barrels per day and cost $8-10 billion.


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