Cliffs extends Tilden Mine ore contract

MARQUETTE – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced this week it will extend its iron ore pellet sale and purchase agreement with Essar Steel Algoma Inc. until 2024.

Previously expected to expire in 2016, according to a press release issued by Cliffs, the agreement includes Essar’s minimum volume iron ore pellet purchases from Cliffs beyond 2016 and pricing for 2013 through 2024.

The new agreement means good things for Cliffs’ Tilden Mine, located in National Mine.

“That is a very positive development for the Tilden Mine,” said Jennifer Huetter, Cliffs’ district manager for public affairs in Michigan. “Any time that you can extend a contract with a customer, that is a great thing for the company as a whole, that is a great thing for the community. We’re very, very pleased with this announcement.”

The contract extension will not affect the Empire Mine, however, which is slated to be shut down next year.

“Unfortunately this doesn’t have any impact on Empire,” Huetter said. “Empire has a contract in place with major steel-maker Arcelor Mittal. It’s set to expire at the end of 2014. The plan we have going forward is to have Empire cease operations at that time.”

The Tilden Mine still has ore reserves estimated to be large enough to keep it operational for the next 30 years, Huetter said.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is