Cleveland-Cliffs Delivers State of the Business

Business leaders, city and state officials gather in Chisholm.

CHISHOLM, Minn.- Chisholm business leaders, city and state officials, and employees heard a state of the business update from the iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs.

President, Chairman and CEO Lourenco Goncalves spent the beginning of his presentation detailing Cleveland-Cliffs’s growth since he took over in August 2014.

But soon he delved into the environmental impacts of iron ore mining, clean steel-making methods, and his fight to build a plant in Nashwauk.

Goncalves detailed the company’s plans to make steel making cleaner, which included a $90 million investment in Northshore Mining.

“We are enabling Northshore to produce 3.5 million tons of DR grade pellets,” he said.

According to him, that is key in transitioning from Blast Furnace mining to Electric Arc Furnace mining, which he says is cleaner, using the material HBI.

“We are going to need as much as 2.8 million tons of DR grade pellets to produce 1.9 million tons of HBI.”

These plans sparked hope in some of the attendees.

“Well it’s good to see that things are moving forward and we work a lot in conjunction with the state and other agencies with these folks,” said Jason Metsa, Deputy Commissioner with the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, or IRRRB.

“And it’s good to see everything kicking off at the beginning of the year with plans in place.”

But soon the topic on most minds came up: Cleveland Cliffs’s battle for the former Essar Steel site.

“I don’t feel like I have, from the local politicians, the support that I need, and Cleveland–Cliffs deserves,” Goncalves said to the crowd following his presentation.

Still, he remains hopeful that governor Tim Walz can help him regain control from Essar and Mesabi Metallics.

“The problem is: take them out of Nashwauk, enough is enough.”

Only after that, he said, can a plant be built and jobs brought to the area.

“The governor can do it. And if they do it, I’ll build an HBI [plant] too at Nashwauk, simple as that.”

Goncalves is still in talks with the Minnesota DNR over the Essar Steel site, and said he feels good with the direction they’re going.

But, he added, things won’t be resolved until they turn the leases for the land over to Cleveland-Cliffs.

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