Cliffs Natural Resources may still have a long way to go to get iron ore pellet production back to normal in Marquette County.
But today may be a first step.
And it may help keep some businesses near the mines from going under.
Cliffs says it’s boosting their production estimate for the year.
It’ll keep them from having to shut down the Empire and Tilden mines this summer.
That’s good news for businesses near the mines.
When Cliffs struggles, they struggle.
Kurt Swanson manages the Cascade Inn, near the Empire Mine in Palmer.
He says business there is down at least 25-30% since the layoffs happened 3 months ago.
He’s thankful the summer shutdown won’t happen because he would have lost a good deal more business.
Until now, Cliffs was planning to shut down the Empire Mine for 7 weeks and the Tilden Mine for nearly 4.
No word on exactly how many layoffs this prevents.
But it’s in the hundreds, and they would have covered most people working at the mines.
None of the 350 or so employees who’ve been laid off the last few months are being called back yet.
Dale Hemmila of Cliffs says that’s the next step they want to take once the economy improves.