UPDATE — 4:50 p.m., Thursday, August 4, 2016 (EDT) It’s the end of an era for a major U.P. employer. The Empire Mine in Palmer officially ceased operation Thursday.
Approximately 266 employees still working at the mine will soon be laid off. In all, around 400 people will be out of work by the end of the month.
The mine has now moved into an indefinite idle state. We talked with a spokesperson at Cliffs Natural Resources about what work is left to do at the mine.
“So we will preserve all of the assets for future optionality,” said Patricia Persico, director of Global Communications for Cliffs Natural Resources. “Over the next few months there will be work related to that.”
“We will still maintain our environmental commitments related to the mine area. Right now, we are not going into a full, permanent closure mode,” Persico added.
For the soon–to–be laid off workers, officials at Cliffs say there is an opportunity for some of them to seek employment at another company facility in Minnesota.
“Folks from the Michigan Ops have been interviewing for some open positions, granted we’re not going to be able to place the entire amount of folks impacted.”
We reached out to United Steelworkers Local 4950 for comment about the mine’s closure, but our phone calls have not been returned. The other mine Cliffs owns and operates, the Tilden mine, will continue normal operations.
That mine employs 770 people.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — ABC 10 has confirmed that the Empire Mine in Palmer has ceased operations as of today, August 4th, 2016.
An official from Cliffs Natural Resources — the company which owns and operates the mine — said the mine has now moved into an indefinite idle state. Over the next few months, work related to securing mine assets will be undertaken.
They will begin to wind down operations with their employees by the end of August, at which point layoffs will begin.
We have reached out to United Steelworkers 4950 for comment. We will have much more on this story tonight on ABC 10 at 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.