Cliffs Natural Resources to Reopen Minnesota Mine Early – by Tess Stynes (Wall Street Journal – June 9, 2016)

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. said it plans to restart its United Taconite mining operation in Minnesota during August, two months earlier than recently expected.

The U.S.’s biggest iron-ore miner cited a contract to supply the majority of U.S. Steel Canada’s iron-ore pellet requirement for the third and fourth quarters, which also spurred Cliffs to raise its sales volume and production guidance for 2016.

The moves come after Cliffs on May 31 announced it had reached a 10-year agreement to supply steel giant ArcelorMittal with iron-ore pellets, which lifted Cliffs stock 39% that day.

Cliffs had temporarily idled the United Taconite and Northshore Mining operations in Minnesota late last year, citing high levels of steel imports that had hurt its customers’ production rates, which in turn hurt demand for its iron-ore pellets.

Cliffs said that after it reached its deal with ArcelorMital that it planned to reopen the United Taconite site in October. The company previously had announced plans to reopen Northshore Mining in May.

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