Cliffs Starting Work on Sawyer Biofuel Plant

Cliffs’ long-awaited new biofuel production plant is finally coming to the old K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base.

Cliffs Natural Resources’ Board of Directors has approved plans for the Renewafuel plant.

The company said more than a year ago it was working on that project.

Renewafuel is a Cliffs subsidiary.

It’ll lease 2 big old airplane hangars at Sawyer.

The $19 million project will also directly create 25 jobs at the plant, and more jobs indirectly, because there have to be people working on feedstock development and transportation of those feedstock materials to the plant.

The plant will produce 150,000 tons per year of high-energy, low-emission biofuel cubes.

The cubes are made from a variety of things, including woodchips, grass, sawdust and paper products.

Local farmers and loggers will supply the materials.

Construction and renovation is scheduled to take 9 months.

The plant should start production in mid-summer of 2010.