Empire Mine at Risk of Layoffs

Hundreds of employees at the Empire Mine may be laid off next year.

Cliffs Natural Resources says it expects the Empire Mine to produce about 2.7 million tons of iron ore pellets next year.

That’s down more than 40% from this year’s level.

Cliffs says the drop in production may affect about 600 Michigan employees, beginning in the second quarter of 2012.

One of Cliffs’ customers is performing blast furnace maintenance next year and won’t need as many pellets as usual.

Cliffs officials say they believe the cutback at the empire mine will be temporary.