Cliffs: Northshore to stay idle until at least April of next year

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Idled in the spring, Northshore Mining is going to stay down for longer.

That’s the update from Lourenco Goncalves, CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, during Friday’s earnings call.

He said it will remain idle until at least April of 2023. Goncalves said this is due to less need for pellets, as they are using more prime scrap. "The pellets at Northshore are not needed at this time."

The mine is in Babbitt, the plant is in Silver Bay. Between the two, there are around 600 employees. About 170 remain on the payroll during the idle.

Mayor Wade LeBlanc, from Silver Bay, said he felt really deflated when he heard the news. "Kind of hopeless. It’s not good news, for a small town, and it’s biggest employer. Especially with inflation."

His counterpart in Babbitt, Mayor Andrea Zupancich, said the same thing. "With property taxes going up, fuel oil, groceries, it’s just a lot. The employees were worried about the idle going longer."

Unemployment has a limit of 26 weeks in Minnesota. But Rep. Rob Ecklund said he’s already working on language of a bill that would call for an extension. “We need to take care of these workers,” he told us.

Rep. Dave Liselgard said, “With the current UI benefits set to expire for many workers in Novembe, an extension is another reason why it’s imperative for lawmakers to return to the capital for a special session. Today‘s development is heartbreaking.”