A Producer of Value-added Iron Ore

With a corporate heritage dating back over 170 years, Cliffs has been a major supplier to the production of iron and steel in the U.S. by offering steelmakers world-class raw materials. Today, Cliffs continues to be a leading iron ore mining company and operator.  Pioneers in developing the beneficiation and pelletizing process, the Company holds the top position as the largest iron ore producer of pellets in North America, as well as one of the lowest cost producers in the world.  Cliffs’ technical knowledge and expertise has helped the company to foster strong relationships with steel producers through the years.

A Partner for Steelmaking Customers

Cliffs’ U.S. Iron Ore operations located in Michigan and Minnesota had an annual rate capacity of 27.4 million tons of iron ore pellet production in 2017, which represents approximately 55 percent of total U.S. pellet production capacity. Cliffs owns and operates four of the eight open pit iron ore mining and processing facilities in the U.S.  While most iron ore producers mine, market and sell a commoditized product to steel producers, Cliffs’ production of high-grade, custom-made pellets is the differentiating factor when comparing the Company to its peers in the iron ore industry. 

As a differentiated mining company, Cliffs is uniquely positioned to satisfy the requirements of its North American steelmaking customers. Its high-grade, premium pellets are customized for and fed directly to its customers’ blast furnaces and are produced under the most stringent environmental regulatory framework in the world. Thanks to its long-term partnerships with North American steelmakers, Cliffs operates under stable contracts, serving the growing end-markets for steel such as automotive, construction, white goods and manufacturing.

EAF steel producers (‘mini-mills’) in North America require a reliable and quality source of iron-based metallics. Cliffs is pursuing the opportunity to tap into this potential market to become a supplier of DR-grade pellets, pig iron and other alternative iron units. Using its technical expertise to increase product offerings, Cliffs developed a new product, DR-grade pellets, for feedstock in DRI production. The Company has reached a significant milestone with full-scale production testing, and is well-positioned to move forward in this market.

In June 2017, we announced the planned construction of an HBI production plant in Toledo, Ohio. HBI is a specialized high-quality iron alternative to scrap that, when used as a feedstock, allows the EAF to produce more valuable grades of steel. We expect our HBI to partially replace the over 3 million metric tons of orebased metallics that are imported into the Great Lakes every year from Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Venezuela.

Our Toledo plant is expected to produce HBI at a rate of 1.6 million metric tons per year when brought to production in 2020. We expect that this will create additional demand for our DR-grade pellets of 2.5 million long tons. Not only does this production plant create another outlet for our high-margin pellets, but it also presents an attractive economic opportunity for us. As the only producer of DR-grade pellets in the Great Lakes and with access to abundant, low-cost natural gas, we will be in a unique position to serve clients in the region. In addition, the Toledo site is in close proximity to over 20 EAFs, giving us a natural competitive freight advantage over import competitors.

License to Operate

Driven by the core values of safety, social, environmental and capital stewardship, Cliffs’ employees are committed to providing all stakeholders with operating and financial transparency.  Fundamental to the Company’s business is responsible and safe operation, respectful engagement and effective stewardship.  By cultivating these values, Cliffs has been successful in developing opportunities while gaining the support of its stakeholders and agencies that grant its license to operate.

200 Public Square, Suite 3300, Cleveland. OH 44114-2544 - Phone: 216-694-5700