CHICAGO Iron ore
pellet and coal producer Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. posted a
net loss of $899.4 million last year, in contrast to net income
of nearly $1.62 billion in 2011, on revenue that fell 10.5
percent to $5.87 billion.
Cliffs said that excluding
non-cash impairment chargesincluding about $1 billion in
goodwill related to its 2011 acquisition of Consolidated
Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. and a $365-million charge related to
its 30-percent interest in an iron ore mine in Amapa,
Braziladjusted net income was $493 million.
The Cleveland-based company said
that the $691.2-million drop in revenue was due largely to a
decline in seaborne iron ore prices, which fell 23 percent from
"While 2012 had some noteworthy
highlights, including the operational turnaround of North
American Coal and record sales volumes in Australia, the year
proved to be challenging both from a market perspective and
operationally," chairman, president and chief executive officer
Joseph Carrabba said.
Cliffs ramp-up of its
Bloom Lake Mine in Quebec has been "slower than originally
anticipated," raising costs and depressing volumes, Carrabba
said. "Despite these challenges, we continue to make progress
on the mines production stability, development and
Bloom Lake is on track to
achieve an annual production run rate of 14 million tons by
2015, equivalent to more than a quarter of Cliffs current
total iron ore volumes, Carrabba said.
Cliffs U.S. iron ore pellet sales volumes reached 6.2
million tons in the fourth quarter, down 20 percent from 7.8
million tons in the same period a year earlier. The company
attributed the decrease to a customer who took lower volumes
due to a bankruptcy earlier in the year, as well as weakening
overall demand for iron ore pellets.