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Forum News Service, Published June 17 2013

Board agrees to restructure Excelsior Energy loan

EVELETH, Minn. — Minnesota lawmakers who make up the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board on Monday gave their blessing to a plan to restructure a $9.15 million loan with troubled Excelsior Energy.

The board backed the effort by IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich to rework the loan in hopes that the company still may pursue a potential electrical generating project on the western Iron Range.

“We’re trying to keep the principals” of Excelsior Energy engaged and in the game, Sertich said. “If this company just throws up its arms and walks away, we’re out $9 million.”

Sertich conceded to board members that the agency had few choices except to try to secure some collateral for the now-unsecured loan and to rework the deal to allow natural gas or biomass energy production instead of the “clean coal” technology required under the original loan.

Excelsior initially was proposed in 2001 as a low-carbon-emission, coal-energy plant to be built on the Iron Range to create jobs producing electricity for the Twin Cities and beyond. But the company never secured a customer, developed the low-carbon technology or secured funding needed to build.