Idled Furnace to be Restarted
Cleveland, OH— Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. announced plans to reactivate an idled furnace at its Northshore Mine in Silver Bay, Minnesota. The furnace has the capacity to produce approximately 800,000 tons of pellets annually and is expected to begin production in 2005. Additional concentrating capacity will also be brought on line to support the reactivated furnace. Total capital cost of the project is estimated to be $30 million, and it would create approximately 35 new jobs. The project is subject to board approval.
Cliffs further stated that it is moving forward with its plans to participate in the 500,000-ton nugget demonstration plant currently being permitted by Mesabi Nuggets at its Cliffs Erie site in Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota.
However, with the planned restart of additional pellet capacity at Northshore, Cliffs said current efforts to permit commercial nugget modules at its Silver Bay facility has been terminated. The company indicated that it expected any future construction of commercial nugget modules in Minnesota would be at its Cliffs Erie facility. Northshore would be capable of supplying concentrates to the initial nugget demonstration plant as well as subsequent commercial modules.
John Brinzo, Cliffs’ chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We plan to restart the idled furnace in order to meet increased pellet demand from our customers. Our long-term strategic plan for both our Northshore and Cliffs Erie assets will allow us to fully capitalize on the current strong pellet market while we enter the higher-value ferrous metallic market. These investments together with those previously announced at United Taconite demonstrate Cliffs’ commitment to Northeastern Minnesota and will generate benefits to Cliffs’ employees, shareholders and customers for years to come.”
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, is the largest producer of iron ore pellets in North America and sells the majority of its pellets to integrated steel companies in the United States and Canada.