Cleveland Cliffs bullish on iron ore market for Minnesota mines – by Dee DePass (Minneapolis Star Tribune – July 23, 2018)

Cleveland Cliffs CEO bullish on future of state’s taconite, mining industries.

The CEO of Cleveland Cliffs has made one of the boldest statements yet on the resurgence of the taconite industry on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Lourenco Goncalves — whose company runs Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite and Northshore Mining in Minnesota — said demand for iron ore and a rising price for the mineral has resulted in second-quarter profits quadrupling year over year. He said he expects to see the same results into next year.

“Going forward, we expect 2019 to be a continuation of a great 2018, based on the renewed strength of American manufacturing, the multiyear positive impact of the tax reform implemented in 2018 in the United States, and our strong position as the supplier of iron ore pellets within the Great Lakes region,” he said in a statement.

The strong results, announced Friday, follow four painful years of restructuring — which included idling plants and laying off hundreds and the divestiture of coal and other noncore assets in an effort to focus on U.S. iron ore operations, mainly in Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio.

“With the announced sale of the Asia Pacific iron ore segment, we have now completed our multiyear transformation back to our roots as a supplier of high-grade iron units to the Great Lakes steel industry,” Goncalves said. “This transformation has enabled us to take full advantage of our unique position within the Great Lakes steel market and, with that, the following quarters should be a continuation of this strong second quarter.”

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