Cliffs United Taconite Introduces New Mustang Pellet Project

Project Expected to Employ Thousands of People

Mining industry layoffs on the Iron Range have been common in recent years but there is good news as some of those employees are now back at work.

Cliffs United Taconite is starting up its Mustang Pellet Project in Forbes which is bringing thousands of people back to work.

Cliffs is the largest producer of taconite pellets in North America.

Lourenco Goncalves, the President and CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources, said “The downturn was temporary. We shut down the plant very reluctantly. We would not like to shut down the plant but we didn’t have a place to put more inventory. We had no choice.”

Many political leaders attending today’s groundbreaking ceremony talked about how vital they believe this project is for the state.

Rick Nolan, a U.S. Representative in the Eighth District of Minnesota, said “It is important to our nation, our national security and our national economy.”

Cliffs is investing $65 million to support future production of the mustang pellet. The mustang pellet is a flux iron ore pellet with much higher levels of limestone than standard pellets have.

The company hopes this project will guarantee mining jobs in the region for generations to come.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is among those excited about the future of this operation.

Dayton said, “This industry is so vitally important to our entire state and to see it coming back we cant thank you enough.”

The company estimates this new pellet project will have an economic impact of around $235 million each year for Minnesota’s economy.

The new mustang pellets will start coming off the line next Spring.

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