Make or break moment for Iron Range mining projects

I’m part of a tortured, high-strung group of people who receive regular e-mail and social media updates about the mining business. It’s part of my duty to better understand the industry that shapes Iron Range history and its current economy. And in recent months the news has been far less depressing than usual. For instance,… Read More →

What’s in a name? Cleveland-Cliffs is back

Cliffs Natural Resources is now Cleveland-Cliffs. That means that the grand old man of American iron mining now wears his old duds. Lourenco Goncalves , Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The historical name Cleveland-Cliffs is synonymous with our strong heritage, and is the perfect one for our next era of growth. As we did… Read More →

Northshore Mining back to work early

Northshore Mining has called back workers early to reopen production of taconite at its Babbitt Mine and Silver Bay processing facility. The mine had previously announced it would reopen in mid- to late-May, but is ahead of schedule. WDIO reported on the news when U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) made the announcement after a tour of… Read More →

Cliffs eyes fall start for United Taconite

In a call to investors yesterday, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves announced that his company will reopen Northshore Mining in May and plans to restart United Taconite in Eveleth later this year. Goncalves also announced that Cliffs made a profit during the last quarter, which wasn’t expected. However, Cliffs remains more than $2 billion in debt. A few weeks ago, Goncalves said United… Read More →

Cliffs eyes acquiring Essar plant

As snow fades from the ditches of Northern Minnesota, the Essar Steel construction site north of Nashwauk remains frozen in time. Minor movement in and out of the site is but partial salve for the idled hope of hundreds of jobs from the region’s largest new mining project in a generation. Essar has stated that it hopes… Read More →

Cliffs to reopen Northshore Mining in May

Cliffs Natural Resources announced today it plans to reopen Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay by May 15. About 540 people work for Northshore Mining, most of whom have been laid off since last year. “The avalanche of unfairly traded steel hitting the U.S. since last year negatively affected our clients’ production levels and,… Read More →

Obama OKs more enforcement to block steel dumping

Late last week, President Obama approved new measures to better enforce trade protections against illegal steel imports. The efforts would provide more funding to investigate allegations of steel dumping, or selling steel for less than it costs to make. The move comes amid some relief in steel pricing on the world market, a factor that… Read More →

Cliffs CEO defies global trends, predicts strong 2016

In today’s earnings report, one in which earnings were less than expected, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources said that he sees the domestic iron ore business turning around later in 2016. Lourenco Goncalves said Iron Range mines at Northshore Mining and United Taconite in Eveleth would stay closed through March, but would reopen after that…. Read More →

ANALYSIS: Rob Ecklund wins 3A race

Rob Ecklund was elected State Representative for Minnesota House District 3A Tuesday by a wide margin. The Koochiching County Commissioner and Boise Cascade union paper worker earned 64 percent of the vote to Republican Roger Skraba’s 19 percent and independent Kelsey Johnson’s 16 percent. Ecklund carried 80 of 83 precincts, losing a pair of small… Read More →

NY Times paints grim picture for Iron Range mines

A business story in yesterday’s New York Times carries this headline: “If It Owns a Well or a Mine, It’s Probably in Trouble.” And since that describes many of the largest businesses on Northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, we can rightly take warning. Companies that produce commodities — oil, iron, copper or the like —… Read More →