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Cliffs to Idle Northshore Mining in December

Written by Sandy Williams

Cliffs Natural Resources announced today that it will temporarily idle iron ore production at its Northshore Mining operation in Minnesota. Pellet production will cease Dec. 1 and continue through Q1 2016. Existing customer demand will be satisfied from current inventory.

The adjustment in production is due to dumping of foreign steel that has negatively impacted steel production levels of its customers, said Cliffs.

Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our pellet inventory is currently at a seasonally, historic high level. As a result, we are taking this action to work off our pellet inventory pending receipt of our customers’ tonnage requirements for 2016 which have not been finalized. The resolution of the trade cases currently filed by the domestic steelmakers against several countries and covering a broad range of steel products should bring a positive impact to the domestic market sometime during the first half of 2016. As soon as the unfairly traded steel problem subsides and domestic steel production recovers to normal levels, we will be able to immediately ramp up iron ore pellet production by bringing idled capacity back to operation.”

Cliffs anticipates that both Northshore and United Taconite will be temporarily idled through the first quarter of 2016. Hibbing Taconite, in Minnesota and the Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan, will continue at normal operation rates.

Most of Northshore’s 540 workers will be laid off. Minimal staffing will be maintained during the temporary idle for basic maintenance and to support ongoing trials of DR-grade pellets.

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