Cliffs to temporarily idle Minnesota mining operation

CLEVELAND — An iron ore mining operation in Minnesota is scheduled to be temporarily idled according to Cliffs Natural Resources.

Cliffs officials say they will be halting production at the Northshore Mining Operation by December 1st. The temporary idle is expected to last through the first quarter of 2016. This action is being taken to help work off a high pellet inventory.

“The historic high tonnage of foreign steel dumped into the U.S. continues to negatively impact the steel production levels of our domestic customers. As our pellet inventory at both Northshore and United Taconite is adequate to meet current customer demand, we will be able to optimize our working capital and cash flow by temporarily idling production at Northshore,” said Cliffs Chairman, President, and CEO Lourenco Goncalves in a statement released by the company.

Goncalves added that the resolution of trade cases filed by domestic steelmakers against several countries should bring a positive impact to the domestic market during the first half of 2016. As market conditions improve, the company plans to adjust its production plans.

Officials say the Tilden and Empire Mines, as well as Hibbing Taconite in Minnesota, will continue to operate at normal rates.

The Northshore Mining iron ore operation consists of a mine and taconite processing facility and employs about 540 employees. A minimal staff will be maintained during the idle to continue basic maintenance and work on DR-grade pellet trials.