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Cleveland-Cliffs: Possible Restart at Empire Mine

Renee Passal
Updated: February 08, 2019 07:51 PM

Cleveland-Cliffs is looking at supplementing their pellet supply, as they eventually feed their new HBI plant in Toledo.

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And one of those ways, would be to restart the idled Empire Mine in Michigan. It was idled in 2016.

CEO Lourenco Goncalves said, "We still have a few i's to dot and a few t's to cross. But I'm very pleased to inform for the first time, that we are close to announcing the resurgence of Empire. It's great news for Michigan and for the great people of Michigan."

He said it could be an investment of $600 million dollars over the course of three years. The potential pellet capacity would be around 3.2-3.5 million tons. He also said it would take three years to get down to the ore that they need.

The other opportunity for more pellets would be the Nashwauk property, which Cliffs owns part of. Goncalves praised Governor Tim Walz for taking action to bar Essar from doing business with the state of Minnesota. "As soon as this virus is eradicated from Minnesota, we are ready to step in and take care of Nashwauk."

Cliffs plans on increasing the capacity of their new HBI facility in Toledo. Construction is underway, with the expectation to see the briquettes in mid 2020. "We have 350 people on-site now, with 900 expected this summer," Goncalves updated on the call.

DR grade pellets from Northshore Mining in Silver Bay will feed the plant. The company plans on investing $40 million dollars into that project in 2019, according to their earnings statement.

Goncalves added that the unions and USW have been great partners, through the company transformation.

Also, the former U.S. Iron Ore segment is now "Mining and Pelletizing."
 

Credits

Renee Passal

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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