Steel Mills

Cliffs Gets OK for Mineral Leases To Extend Life of Hibbing Ore Ops

Minnesota officials have granted Cleveland-Cliffs new mineral leases for its Hibbing Taconite Co. iron ore mining and pellet processing operations on the state’s Mesabi Iron Range.

Cliffs logo2.2Cliffs chairman, president, and CEO Lourenco Goncalves said the approvals from the Minnesota Executive Council would keep Hibbing Taconite running through at least 2026.

If approved, additional leases in Nashwauk, Minn., could keep the facility operating for years longer, he added.

“We remain confident that once we obtain the state leases to add to Nashwauk land already controlled by Cleveland-Cliffs, we will then be able to extend the life of Hibbing Taconite for decades,” Goncalves said in a statement.

The Duluth News-Tribune reported that Hibbing Taconite risked running out of ore by 2025 unless new mineral leases were approved.

A joint venture between Cliffs and US Steel, the Hibbing Taconite produces about 7.8 million tons of standard iron-bearing pellets and mines about 29 million tons of ore annually, according to Cliffs’ website.

The operations consists of an open-pit truck and shovel mine, a concentrator, and a pellet plant. The pellets are railed from Minnesota to Superior, Wis., just across the state line from Duluth, Minn. From there, they are shipped across the Great Lakes to Cliffs’ steel mill in Burns Harbor, Ind.

By Ethan Bernard,

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