Cliffs plans to idle Canadian pellet plant

CLEVELAND – Cliffs Natural Resources announced recently that it expects to idle its Wabush Pointe Noire pellet plant within the city of Sept-Iles in Quebec, Canada, by the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Cliffs said the decision to idle its iron ore pellet operation is due to high production costs and lower pellet premium pricing which is expected to persist in certain markets during the year.

“Due to the dynamics in the marketplace, we are taking measures to adjust our iron ore pellet production at our Wabush operation while continuing to meet our customer commitments,” said Joseph A. Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Unfortunately this decision will impact approximately 165 employees. We understand this is a hardship for our employees and their families. During this transition, we will be working with them including exploring other opportunities at Cliffs.”

The Company’s current product mix in its Eastern Canadian Iron Ore business segment is comprised of iron ore pellets and concentrate. Cliffs expects to idle production at its Pointe Noire iron ore pellet plant and transition to producing an iron ore concentrate only product from its Wabush Scully mine in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador by the end of the second quarter in 2013.

“We are taking a long-term view of our investments in Canada. These measures address current market conditions and we look forward to advancing our work at Bloom Lake which is key to Cliffs’ future,” said Carrabba.