Steel Mills

Cliffs Calls Back Workers Ahead of Northshore Mining Restart

Written by Michael Cowden

Cleveland-Cliffs has called back workers to its idled Northshore Mining operations in Minnesota, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

She declined to say how many workers were being called back or why. “We will provide more details when we decide when and at what capacity this operation will be brought back online,” the spokeswoman said in an email to SMU.

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The confirmation from Cliffs comes after Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) said on Monday that she had met with Cliffs chairman, president, and CEO Lourenco Goncalves in Washington, D.C., about reopening Northshore.

“I’m glad mining operations will be reopening in Babbitt and Silver Bay and the miners will be returning to work,” Sen. Klobuchar said in a statement.

Minnesota state Sen. Grant Hauschild (D., Hermantown) also tweeted that Cliffs was “beginning the process to reopen their facilities” in Babbitt and Silver Bay.

Northshore Mining is comprised of the Peter Mitchell Mine near Babbitt, Minn., on the Mesabi Iron Range and a pellet processing facility approximately 50 miles away in Silver Bay, Minn., according to a company fact sheet.

Recall that Cliffs said in 2021 it would shift production of direct-reduced (DR) grade pellets – a necessary feedstock for its hot-briquetted iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio – from Northshore to its Minorca iron ore operations near Virginia, Minn.

Goncalves said then that the company was making the shift away from Northshore because of an “unreasonable” royalty structure there.

“Northshore will become a swing operation,” he said, meaning that it would be idled when demand was not strong enough to support production.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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