Ground broken for iron ore pellet project in East Toledo

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - Ground was officially broken Thursday on a $700 million investment in Toledo's east side. The facility will be producing iron ore pellets, the first step in producing steel for the rest of the country.

Company leaders say Toledo had plenty of positive attributes like access to rail lines but also water resources, something places simply can't create.

Front Street near Millard will transform itself again into a functioning industrial area. The neighborhood is even know an “Ironville”. Its iron past will now become a future of iron ore pellets.

"There will be another generations of Toledoans in that same neighborhood doing the exact same thing, making a living just as honest and just as noble supporting family just as deserving 50-60-70 years ago," said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

Cleveland Cliffs will produce the pellets, which will be loaded onto freighters and eventually become steel.

The $700 million project will create 1200 construction jobs and about 130 permanent jobs. The iron for the pellets will be coming from Minnesota and the steel will be used in the US.

"The United States of America is and will continue to be a manufacturing super power. That's what we are," said Cleveland Cliffs CEO and President Lourenco Gonclaves.

With natural gas prices low, this plant now has many people optimistic for Toledo's role in that manufacturing.

"We have to beat the competition from other countries and this facility will play a central role in that," said Toledo area Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.

Some have worried about environmental issues. Company leaders say emissions will be minimal, they will not discharge water into the river and that the material will be enclosed in a large tower on the property.

"I'm a good neighbor. We are not going to create any issues for you. People that talk about environmental concerns and this and that, they just don’t know us enough," said Gonclaves.

To give you an idea of the size of the tower it's expected to be about 450 feet tall. One Seagate, the Fifth Third Bank building on the other side the river is only 410 feet tall.