Executive level changes at Cliffs could mean new opportunities for industry – by Jeff Labine (tbnewswatch.com – July 10, 2013)


Fresh faces among Cliffs Natural Resources senior executives could mean new opportunities for the struggling company, says a spokesman for national mining advocacy group.

Crain’s Cleveland Business reported Joseph Carrabba would be retiring from the company’s president and chief executive by the end of the year. His announcement follows the departure of executive vice-president and president of global Laurie Brlas.

Earlier this year, Cliffs suspended its environmental assessment activities in the Ring of Fire. Delays to the environmental assessment process, land surface rights and negotiations with the province of Ontario were some of the main reasons for the decision.

The company’s stock also dropped in the past year from a high of $53.13 to a low of $16.74. It’s currently trading near $16.70.

Jamie Kneen, communications co-ordinator with MiningWatch, said he doubts things could get much worse for Cliffs. He wasn’t sure how the change will impact projects like the Ring of Fire, but said that at least it provides new opportunities. Whether those opportunities are good or bad for the company remains to be seen, he added. “They might need people who are willing to look ahead,” he said in a phone interview with tbnewswatch.com from Ottawa.

“It’s not happening as fast as they thought it would. I think this is an opportunity but whether it works out or not is up to them. Without knowing more about the individuals and who’s coming in, it’s really hard to know. Things can always get worse but you don’t necessarily know until it happens.”

Kneen said Cliffs should have listened to the concerns of the First Nation communities and did a proper environmental review instead of going through the backdoor. Now the company is going through a judicial review of the EA process.

He argued that if the company could have been halfway through the process already.

“If there’s an opportunity for new blood to come in and commit to working with the communities, then maybe that’s a good opportunity,” he said.