NEW YORK Cliffs Natural
Resources Inc. will idle parts of its iron ore operations at
Northshore Mining in Minnesota and at Empire Mine in Michigan,
it said Monday.
The iron ore and metallurgical
coal producer cited greater iron ore pricing volatility and
lower North American steelmaking utilization rates.
Cleveland-based Cliffs is also
delaying sections of its second-phase expansion at its Bloom
Lake Mine in Quebec, and is adjusting 2013 operating plans for
its North American iron ore business to align with expected
Cliffs will idle two of the four
production mines at Northshore Mining on Jan. 5, also
temporarily idling output at its Empire Mine in the second
quarter of 2013 by taking a summer shutdown, it said.
Full-year 2013 U.S. iron ore
sales volumes are expected to remain unchanged at 19 million to
20 million tons.
"We believe it is prudent and
necessary to match our production volumes with market demand,"
Laurie Brlas, president of global operations, said, noting that
Cliffs will remain operationally flexible to ramp up volumes
throughout the year if demand increases.
Cliffs plans to suspend
completion of Bloom Lakes concentrator and loadout
facility, it said, adding that the delay of second-phase
construction there decreases its 2013 eastern Canadian iron ore
sales volume estimate to 9 million to 10 million tons from 13
million to 14 million tons.
Depending on market conditions,
Cliffs expects to complete second-phase construction in early
"In 2013, the company expects to
achieve an annualized run rate of about 7 million tons for
Bloom Lakes Phase I facility," it added.
A version of this story was
first published by AMM sister publication Steel First