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Dayton makes Essar Steel 'final offer' to pay back $66M it owes Minnesota

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Governor Mark Dayton has given Essar Steel a week to accept his new terms by which the company will pay back just under $66 million it owes the state.

The state provided the company with a loan in 2008 to fund a taconite plant and steel mill, only for Essar to shelve the steel part of the project and instead focus on a $1.9 billion taconite facility in Nashwauk.

Considering this a breach of the loan agreement, Dayton has been calling on the company to pay it back, and according to the Pioneer Press issued a final ultimatum to it on Wednesday, giving it until Dec. 30 to accept his demands.

He has set out terms for a repayment plan that will see Essar pay $10 million back to the state by March 31, with the first $3.4 million due in the next 45 days.

The remaining $55.9 million, FOX 21 reports, would be repaid in 16 quarterly payments starting on March 31, 2017, giving the company just over a year to free up the money.

In a letter to Essar, the TV station notes, Dayton described the terms as the state's "final offer."

Earlier this month Dayton backtracked on his plans to make the company pay off the debt in full all at once, after Essar paid $20 million it owed to Minnesota vendors, and said it was working with an international bank to find more money they hope to use to repay "all additional outstanding obligations."

Financing the project has proved to be an issue for Essar Steel, part of the India-based Essar Group, though they say the taconite plant is still on track for a mid-2016 opening.

The Mesabi Daily News reports that Dayton's administration has been negotiating with Essar on a repayment plan for months.

Speaking with the newspaper on Wednesday, Essar Steel Minnesota CEO Madhu Vuppuluri said the repayment of the state's money "will be resolved soon, very soon."

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