A transformative year for Cleveland-Cliffs

Updated: February 25, 2021 05:59 PM
Created: February 25, 2021 06:56 AM

It's been quite the year for Cleveland-Cliffs. The CEO, Lourenco Goncalves, reminded investors on the earnings call on Thursday that one year ago, their main focus was iron ore. Now, he said they are the largest flat-rolled steelmaker in North America.

"It's fair to say that our unique business model is now the envy of the steel industry. Employees seem to be proud of that. And we are too," he said. "I could not be more pleased with the workforce that came from ArcelorMittal USA." Cliffs now has 25,000 employees.

Their HBI plant in Toledo came online in November of last year. And they plan to ramp up to full production in the 2nd quarter, according to Goncalves. Pellets made at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay feed that plant.

Cliffs is using the HBI internally for now. But they plan on shipping to their customers in March, including Nucor. "Nucor opened the door for us to develop the DR grade pellets in Trinidad. I'll be forever grateful to them. They are the first ones receiving HBI in March, and then Steel Dynamics not long after that."

He said the HBI is natural gas based, and therefore reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Reduction in emissions is another main focus for Cliffs.

Cliffs owns United Taconite, Northshore Mining, Minorca Mine, and is managing owner of Hibbing Taconite.

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