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Forum News Service, Published December 18 2013

Iron Range board considers $1.9 million loan to countertop company

The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board is expected to approve a $1.94 million loan Friday to the city of Biwabik and Laurentian Monument, Granite & Stone so the countertop and monument company can expand and add 15 jobs.

IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich is asking the board to approve the loan as part of the company’s proposed $2.84 million expansion project.

The company produces granite countertops and monuments and is expanding into other areas of natural stone use, such as structural, architectural, decorative and landscaping. The company has experienced high demand for its unique stones, which are found on former Iron Range mining sites. Funding will be used to construct a new industrial building and purchase a site that will provide stone inventory.

The IRRRB also is expected to approve taconite tax rebates for ArcelorMittal-Minorca, Magnetation, Mesabi Nugget, Northshore Mining and United Taconite as part of an ongoing effort to encourage reinvestment into the companies’ operations on the Iron Range. The companies get part of their production tax back if they match it in upgrading the plants.

The board also is expected to approve more than $6.6 million in infrastructure grants to local governments for 33 local construction projects.