Ishpeming, MI—March 1, 2011 —Cliffs Natural Resources, (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) has announced that it has begun to add new vehicles with larger haul capacities to its production truck fleet in Michigan.
The new trucks are Komatsu 930E-4SE models with a rated payload capacity of 320 tons. The production trucks currently in operation have a rated capacity of 240 tons.
The first of these large capacity vehicles began operations this week and over the next five years, 20 vehicles will be added to the production truck fleet at an approximate cost of $5 million per unit.
“These larger trucks will allow for more cost effective and efficient mining operations in both the Empire and Tilden mine pits,” said Jeffrey Lipovetz, general manager of Michigan operations. “Increasing the truck size and adding these trucks to the production fleet at a considerable capital cost is a strong commitment on behalf of Cliffs for the future of Michigan iron mining.”
The hauling capability of the 20, 320-ton trucks would equal the hauling capability of nearly 27, 240-ton trucks. Utilizing a larger payload, the new trucks will increase productivity by more than 30 percent. In addition, the new trucks will reduce the total miles travelled moving material annually and will reduce diesel fuel consumption by more than 4.5 million gallons each year. Use of the trucks will also reduce the overall carbon footprint of Michigan operations.
With fewer loads needed to haul the same amount of material, the trucks will also mean safer operations within the mining areas.
“As we evaluated extending the life of the Empire Mine and the continuing operations at the Tilden Mine, adding to our truck fleet became imperative,” said Jeffrey Johnson, Michigan operations area manager-mining. “We are pleased to be able to increase the size and productivity of production trucks while maintaining a high level of safety for employees and minimizing the environmental impact of our hauling operations.”
While the first truck was placed in operation this week, additional trucks will be assembled and added to the truck fleet in 2011 and over the next several years.
Once completed, the Michigan operations will have a production fleet of 35 vehicles consisting of both 240-ton capacity and 320-ton capacity haul trucks.