Cliffs iron ore pellet customer files for bankruptcy

A major customer of Cliffs Natural Resources has filed for bankruptcy.

Essar Steel Algoma is a Canadian company based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The company has filed for Chapter 15 federal bankruptcy protection. Chapter 15 status gives foreign companies protection from American creditors while they restructure their finances in another country. Essar Steel Algoma listed liabilities of more than $1 billion in its bankruptcy filing.

The company has an iron ore pellet purchase contract with Cliffs Natural Resources through 2024. The agreement was due to expire in 2016, but Essar Steel Algoma and Cliffs signed a contract extension last year.

Cliffs Michigan district public affairs manager Jennifer Huetter says Cliffs is aware of Essar Steel Algoma’s bankruptcy. However, she says Cliffs can’t comment at this time about how their operations would be affected.