2020 has been transformational year for Iron Range mining – by Jerry Burnes (Minneapolis Star Tribune – November 9, 2020)


Associated Press – VIRGINIA, Minn. — When Lourenco Goncalves took the helm as CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources in 2014, he inherited a ore boat’s load of a mess: billions in debt, a declining reputation and a rumblings that the century-plus-old company would go belly up in bankruptcy.

Check that. He didn’t inherit the mess. He took it over — in a hostile fashion — to willingly enact his vision for the company, spending millions of his money to, in his words during a 2018 interview, “put my money where my mouth is.”

In the six years since, Cleveland-Cliffs (the company reverted back to its original name in 2017) has shed those billions of dollars owed, helped lead the Iron Range out of a massive industry downturn in 2015 and is ready to open the company’s first hot-briquetted iron facility in Toledo, Ohio.

Just like Goncalves said would happen. So, it shouldn’t come as much of surprise that he followed through on his February 2020 outlook that the year — which would end up roiled by the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and political tensions and more economic struggles in the months following — would be “transformational” for Cliffs.

That message was coming off an announcement that Cliffs would complete a merger with AK Steel for $1.1 billion dollars. It was completed in March, combining the two Ohio-based companies and making Cliffs a steelmaker for the first time in its history, the Mesabi Tribune reported.

For the rest of this article: https://www.startribune.com/2020-has-been-transformational-year-for-iron-range-mining/573012771/