Steel Dynamics Inc. has announced the production of the first batch of iron nuggets at the Mesabi Nugget facility at Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota on 12 January 2010. Utilizing the ITmk3 process developed by Kobe Steel, the plant began commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2009. By the end of December 2009, all individual production systems were operational, and ready for the integration of the overall process to produce nuggets. The announcement marks a milestone in that this is the world’s first commercial production of nuggets using the ITmk3 process. Steel Dynamics has built the Minnesota nugget plant in cooperation with Kobe Steel Ltd of Japan, which has licensed the technology and provided equipment and technical support. Steel Dynamics, with 81% ownership, is responsible for operation of the plant and expects to utilize a substantial portion of the plant’s output as feedstock for SDI’s electric-arc furnace mini mills in Indiana. The start-up marks the completion of two years of construction.