Cliffs CEO: No Plans to Idle or Close Mines
The Chief Executive of Cliffs Natural Resources is now saying he has no plans to permanently idle or close any of their Minnesota mines if an Essar steel taconite plant currently under construction in Nashwauk goes into production.
Lourenco Goncalves clarified an earlier statement made to the Mesabi Daily News, saying that if the Essar Plant goes online, he would shut down a Cliffs plant in Minnesota the same day.
Cliffs believes, however, that if the Essar site were to come online, that it would create an overcapacity of iron ore pellets in the U.S., potentially impacting jobs.
In July of 2015, Goncalves and three other Cliffs executives accepted an invitation to tour the Essar Minnesota construction site.
As a result of the tour, Cliffs believes that Essar’s claims of the project’s state of completion are “substantially overstated” and their projected timeline for pellet projection in 2016 is inaccurate.
Cliffs stands behind its position that until Essar starts producing iron ore pellets at a sustainable rate, the project is nothing more than a construction site.
The company also believes that Essar should be required to immediately pay back the $66 million the project received in state money.
Essar is still negotiating with the state on repayment.
The $1.9 billion dollar project is expected to bring in more than 300 jobs to the Iron Range.
Essar anticipates having the plant up and running in late 2016.