Cliffs guards plans for Iron Range
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. plans to make "an exciting news announcement" Wednesday morning in Orr, according to a media notice it issued late last week. However, the company remains mum about the nature of its announcement, stating: "No further detail...
Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. plans to make "an exciting news announcement" Wednesday morning in Orr, according to a media notice it issued late last week. However, the company remains mum about the nature of its announcement, stating: "No further details will be provided in advance."
In the past several months, Cleveland-Cliffs has announced plans to invest millions of dollars in Iron Range taconite facilities, and it also intends to build a biofuel fuel plant somewhere in the region.
In July, the company laid out a $104 million initiative to expand United Taconite's operations in Forbes, boosting the plant's annual production by 700,000 tons -- a 13 percent increase. The project is expected to create 24 new jobs at United Taconite, but additional jobs also will result from Cleveland-Cliff's opening of a biofuel facility on the Range.
Maureen Talarico, a spokeswoman for the company, said in July she could not estimate how many people a biofuel-producing facility would employ but observed it would require a relatively small work force compared with mining operations.
Cleveland-Cliffs owns a70 percent stake in Renewafuel LLC, a company that has been working to produce a densified cube fuel from a range of materials, including wood, sawdust, corn stalks, grasses and seed hulls. To date, Renewafuel's research and development efforts have been centered in Battle Creek, Mich., but Talarico said in July that the company was expected to launch a facility somewhere in northern Minnesota soon.
Eventually, Renewafuel is expected to supply up to one-half of United Taconite's fuel needs and could be used to help power other taconite plants, too. Cleveland-Cliffs also owns Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay and manages Hibbing Taconite Co.
In addition to the proposed expansion at United Taconite, Cleveland-Cliffs also recently invested $40 million to restart a furnace at Northshore, boosting the plant's annual production by about 800,000 tons.