New Cliffs leadership commits to iron ore strategy

Iron Range newsAfter a dramatic company shake-up last month, the new CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources is vowing to focus on mining, processing, and shipping iron ore from the Great Lakes region, especially from the Mesabi Iron Range.

Cliffs operates and co-owns half the mines on the Iron Range, including Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite in Eveleth and Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay.

New CEO Lourenco Goncalves wrote a letter that was posted on the company website earlier this month. It includes this statement:

Our strategy going forward is crystal clear. Our domestic operations in iron ore are the bedrock of this Company. We will continue to enhance them and, together with the men and women working hard at the mine sites, we will make the business stronger, resilient, and more profitable.

The statement provide some sense of relief for many in Northern Minnesota’s iron mining industry. So, too, will the revelation yesterday that Cliffs will be repurchasing common shares, investing about $200 million into the company to further strengthen its operations.

Cliffs is committed to mining iron in Minnesota, but its also committed to efficiency. That means time will tell whether consolidation or wholescale reorganization of its operations are in store. Having talked to a few Cliffs employees recently, some wonder if management changes that happened at the corporate level are going to happen at the local level as well.

For the Iron Range, however, this news means that no jarring changes will come right away, and for many that means enough to get through the winter.


  1. No more tenure for miners….

  2. Tammy Sedberglund says

    May make sense to hesitate lauding the share buyback as Range balm and instead assess it for what it is : a brute force activist shareholder move to strip value. Note the press release “… the Board has also authorized the Company to take all the necessary steps to remove the limitations and restrictions present in the Company’s current debt agreements which preclude Cliffs’ ability to execute the buyback program. ” Prudent stewardship would move to cut the dividend first . This is old school squeeze play raiding .

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