NEW YORK Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will idle its Wabush Pointe Noire pellet plant in Sept-Îles, Quebec, by the end of the second quarter due to high production costs and lower pellet premium pricing.
The plant has the capacity to produce 5.6 million tons of iron ore pellets annually.
"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," chairman, president and chief executive officer Joseph Carrabba said.
"Unfortunately, this decision will affect about 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," he added.
"We are taking a long-term view of our investment in Canada," Carrabba added. "These measures address current market conditions, and we look forward to advancing our work at Bloom Lake, which is key to Cliffs future."
The Bloom Lake Mine in Fremont, Quebec, has the capacity to produce 8 million tons of magnetite and hematite iron ore. Cleveland-based Cliffs has a 75-percent share in the mine, and Toronto-based Wugang Canada Resources Investment Ltd. owns the remaining 25 percent.
Cliffs has maintained a full-year 2013 sales and production volume outlook of 9 million to 10 million tons for its Eastern Canada Iron Ore business segment.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.