Walz Asks Cliffs, US Steel to Collaborate to Keep Taconite Plants Open, Cliffs CEO Responds

ST.PAUL, Minn. – On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz sent letters urging the CEOs of US Steel and Cleveland Cliffs to work together to ensure the future success of both Minntac and Hibbing Taconite operations.

“I am writing this letter out of concern about the future of two iron ore taconite operations— Minntac and Hibbing Taconite–on Minnesota’s Iron Range and to request a call at your earliest convenience to discuss the challenges that these facilities face in the coming years. Both facilities are critical to the ongoing economic success of Minnesota’s Iron Range–directly employing over 1700 workers collectively,” Walz wrote in the letters.

On Tuesday afternoon, the CEO of Cleveland Cliffs Lourenco Goncalves responded to Walz’s letter.

Goncalves said in his response that, “Cleveland-Cliffs continues to advance options for mining beyond the current reserve base of five years, including acquisition of lands adjacent to Hibbing Taconite.”

He continued that negotiations with U.S. Steel regarding the Cami-Campbell leases failed to materialize a solution.
“The unsuccessful negotiations with U.S. Steel were a very important part of our decision to acquire land in Nashwauk, in order to provide us with the mine life extension we need at Hibbing Taconite. If Cleveland-Cliffs controls Nashwauk, not only Hibbing Taconite will be saved, but we would also have the opportunity to build a Direct Reduction plant on the site, creating the basis for a future steel mill in
Nashwauk, locally supplied with HBI,” Goncalves wrote in his response.

Goncalves says Cliffs welcomes the involvement of the state to bring the parties together to “work quickly toward facilitating viable options with the Carmi-Campbell leases” and proposed that representatives from each party meet and work toward a solution as soon as possible.

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