SILVER BAY, MN — $100 million dollars and 500,000 labor hours later, Cleveland-Cliffs DR-Grade pellet project at its Northshore mine is complete.
“These DR-Grade pellets will ensure in northern Minnesota that we will have this thing going for at least 100 years,” said Cliffs President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves.
The project includes new conveyors, concentrator upgrades, a new scavenger building, and more.
“This expansion will share economic opportunities for families of the employees now and well into the future,” said MN State Rep. Rob Ecklund.
The upgrades set the mining operation apart making Northshore the only low-silica pellet producer in the United States.
Former Congressman Rick Nolan, a champion of the mining industry and a major player in working to stop illegally imported steel from coming to the U.S. spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday in Silver Bay. He said this project is an example of the next generations of jobs for iron mining in northern Minnesota.
“I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be here now at a time when we’re celebrating great progress,” said Nolan.
Congressman Pete Stauber echoed that sentiment.
“The expansion the economic drivers that are critical not only for northeastern Minnesota but for the safety and security of our nation.”
The DR-Grade pellets will be used as the main supply for Cleveland-Cliffs new HBI facility in Toledo, Ohio.
With the pellets in full production, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves is looking to the future.
“We are going to build more but I can only build when I have support,” said Goncalves.
He called on lawmakers and the people of northeastern Minnesota to team up.
“We can only do things when everybody pushes in the same direction.”
According to the general manager at Northshore Mine, since the production of the DR-Grade pellets began in June of this year they have produced several hundred thousand tons, and counting.