Business North reports that Cliffs Natural Resources will idle two lines at its Northshore Mining property in Silver Bay. About 125 taconite workers will be affected by the temporary shutdown, which is slated for Jan. 5, 2013. Cliffs will also idle lines at the Empire Mine in Michigan.
Officials cite the cyclical nature of iron ore demand and expressed optimism the market will return to full force in the near future. If the down cycle expands, however, expect other Range mines to see slowdowns or shutdowns.
Factoids: Northshore is the only non-union Iron Range taconite production facility and the only Iron Range mine to operate its own railroad, running ore from the mine near Babbitt across the swamps of St. Louis and Lake counties to Silver Bay and the facility you surely noticed on your way up the North Shore on vacation.