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Published May 20, 2013, 10:29 AM

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The Spiritwood Energy Park may host an iron smelting facility, Construction begins on a Bobcat Co. manufacturing plant in Bismarck, N.D., and a barn fire in Perham, Minn. kills over three-dozen livestock.

More plans for Spiritwood, N.D.

• The Spiritwood (N.D.) Energy Park may be home to an iron smelting operation by 2015, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. The plant would process iron ore concentrate from the Grand Rapids, Minn., area into iron nuggets, according to John Simmons, chairman of Carbontec Energy Corp. of Bismarck, N.D. Sugar beet residue will be used as a reductant or reducer in the iron smelting process, Simmons says. This process separates the iron from the other materials, known as slag, within the ore. Using sugar beet residue reduces carbon emissions. The iron nuggets would then be shipped to foundries around the nation. The slag might be used in road surfaces within the area. Simmons says the Spiritwood site is ideal. The Spiritwood Energy Park is also the planned location of the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy Plant and the planned CHS nitrogen plant. The park also includes the Great River Energy Spiritwood Station coal-fired electrical plant that is currently not in use and is adjacent to the Cargill malting plant.

Bobcat Co. breaks ground on $20 million Bismarck facility

• BISMARCK, N.D. — Bobcat Co. is investing $35 million in an expansion and renovations in Bismarck, about 3½ years after closing its manufacturing plant in the North Dakota capital and laying off nearly 500 workers. Bobcat on May 13 broke ground on a $20 million research-and-development facility at its existing site at the Northern Plains Commerce Centre. Construction is expected to be done in about a year. The company is spending another $15 million on renovations to the existing facility. Bobcat has hired an additional 135 people for the expanded facility, bringing its workforce in Bismarck to 625. West Fargo, N.D.-based Bobcat makes compact construction equipment. It has about 1,000 independent dealers in more than 100 countries and bills itself as North Dakota’s largest manufacturer. It also has sites in Fargo, Gwinner and Wahpeton.

Trial set for suit against ND hog farming center

• FARGO, N.D. — Trial is set to begin in the case of a Canadian food company that says it’s owed more than $600,000 from a North Dakota hog farming operation. Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court against North Dakota Sow Center, which operates facilities near Bottineau and Edmore. Maple Leaf claims the hog farming company failed to pay for the sale of young pigs. Court documents show that North Dakota Sow Center refused to pay its balance because it was unhappy with the quality of the animals. The complaint seeks an additional $100,000 for incidental damages. Lawyers expect the trial to last a week. Jury selection has begun in Fargo.

Barn blaze near Perham, Minn., kills 40 cattle

• PERHAM, Minn. — A barn and 40 head of cattle were destroyed in a fire just north of Perham, Minn., May 10. Area firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at 5:43 p.m., according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office. The property along County Highway 8 was in the process of being sold to new owners. Cattle lost in the fire belonged to both parties. In addition to the cattle, about 100 square bales, a hay shed, corn crib, two tractors, three skid loaders and some other equipment were also lost. Nine head of cattle were saved. Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt says the barn was about 60 feet by 85 feet and was completely engulfed when firefighters arrived. He says a nearby farmer let firefighters take loads of water from his irrigator well, helping them put the fire out as quickly as possible. Authorities say the fire was likely started in front of the barn.

Briefly . . .

• Body found: A man’s body found near Williston has been identified as Jack Sjol, a 58-year-old rancher who had been missing since April 24. The North Dakota State Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Sjol and ruled his death a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound. Ryan Lee Stensaker, 33, Williston, is charged with murder, a class AA felony, and being held in the Williams County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

• Growing reward: Reward money has been increased for information that solves two year-old cases of cattle killings in North Dakota. The reward in a Richland County case in which 13 cows and a calf were shot and killed in a pasture near Hankinson is now up to $15,100. Officials say it’s the largest cattle shooting in the state in recent memory. The reward in an Oliver County case in which nine cattle were killed is now up to $27,000, the largest such reward in state history. The main reason for the reward increases is a decision by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association to increase its standing reward in any case of someone stealing, butchering or shooting cattle, horses or mules in North Dakota. The amount has been increased from $1,000 to $10,000.

• Employees recruited: A beef processing plant in Yankton, S.D., is courting laid-off workers from the Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen. The Aberdeen plant announced late last month that it was laying off 108 of its 420 employees until it can raise more money for operations. Representatives from the Cimpl’s plant in Yankton conducted job interviews in Aberdeen on May 14 and had more scheduled May 15. Cimpl’s is owned by Wisconsin-based American Foods Group, the fifth-largest beef processor in the nation. Spokeswoman Ellen Paulson says jobs are available at Cimpl’s and at other American Foods Group plants in the Midwest. Northern Beef has said it hopes to call back laid-off workers by late July. Company officials declined comment on the recruiting for the Cimpl’s plant.

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