Cliffs Natural Resources is about to start one of its largest upkeep projects ever at the Tilden Mine.
The company uses 2 kilns there to process iron ore into pellets.
One of the kilns is about to get a makeover, with huge new pieces to replace well-worn ones.
The new pieces are already there, and they’ll replace pieces that have been used since 1979.
The pieces are 25 feet and 29 feet in diameter — so huge that part of the plant’s roof has to come off.
A 300-foot crane also has to be assembled to lift the pieces into place.
The maintenance work on the kiln is scheduled to start a week from this coming Monday, and it’ll cost more than $5 million.
Cliffs public affairs manager Dale Hemmila says it’s a good sign for the Tilden Mine’s future that the company would want to put that much money into it.
He says the installation should take about 30 days, and he hopes it doesn’t take longer than that because in light of a recovery in company sales, production is strong right now.