Cleveland-Cliffs Inc

Cleveland-Cliffs has a long history of providing a safe workplace, striving to be good stewards of the environment, and establishing strong and respectful relationships with our communities. These fundamentals provide the foundation upon which we manage our business.

Our Core Values contribute to our ability to overcome business challenges. They guide us when we have to make difficult decisions in complex situations. They also help us to maintain the trust we have built with our stakeholders and with each other.

A History of Cleveland-Cliffs: 1847-2017 Timeline

Cleveland-Cliffs and its wholly-owned subsidiary, AK Steel, have an extensive history of being innovators in the iron and steel industry. Cliffs celebrated our 170th year as a company in 2017. We are a company that pre-dates the first Industrial Revolution, with leaders who navigated business through wars, prosperity and depression eras. Now in the New Millennium, we can thank the ingenuity and hard work of our employees over the years for helping to make us into the largest iron ore producer in North America. We are very proud of the fact that steel starts here at Cliffs.

A PDF version of Cleveland-Cliffs’ 170-Year History is available to download.



Cleveland Iron Company is founded by eleven men from Cleveland, OH who seek to develop the hard hematite and magnetite ores of the Negaunee outcropping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In the following years, the first railway is built on the Iron Range and the Sault Ste Marie Canal opens, built with support from Cleveland Iron Mining, whose first iron ore shipment is 120 tons. Cleveland Iron Mining pioneers use of the diamond drill, getting cleaner drill cores and gaining accuracy on siting locations for underground mines.


Cleveland Iron Mining Co is chartered to mine in Michigan.


The first railway is built on the Iron Range and the Sault Ste Marie Canal opens, built with support from Cleveland Iron Mining, whose first iron ore shipment is 120 tons.


Cleveland Iron Mining pioneers use of the diamond drill, getting cleaner drill cores and gaining accuracy on siting locations for underground mines.


The Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company is founded, with William G. Mather as its president.


Cliffs organizes the first geological department for an iron mining company in the Lake Superior Region of Ishpeming, Michigan.


The Crosby became Cleveland Cliffs’ first mine on the Mesabi to ship iron ore. The Crosby was located in Nashwauk (Itasca County), and opened shortly after the Hawkins mine.


Cleveland-Cliffs is recognized as the largest independent producer of iron ore in the United States.


Cliffs opens a laboratory in Ishpeming to find ways to make low-grade ores usable, and pioneers a process to beneficiate the ore into high-quality, custom-made pellets. Cliffs’ first pellets are produced at the Eagle Mills Plant in Negaunee Township, Michigan.


Cliffs opens Empire Mine, the first to use two-stage, self-grinding (autogenous) mills in iron ore processing.


Cliffs opens Tilden Mine in Michigan, the first to process fine-grained hematite ore with a selective flotation system.


Cliffs acquires Northshore Mining in Silver Bay, Minnesota.


Cliffs embarks upon strategy to expand globally and to diversify into other minerals, leading to the acquisitions of iron-ore properties in Brazil, Canada and Australia and coal properties in Australia and the US.


New Chairman, CEO and President and newly formed Board of Directors installed after contested proxy battle.


A momentous year for Cliffs due to several crucial decisions aimed at strengthening the Company and its core U.S. iron ore business. Fully exits the North American Coal business. Initiates formal restructuring proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) (“CCAA”) for the Bloom Lake and Wabush mines. Completes the sale of the Chromite assets in Northern Ontario as part of the CCAA process. Finalizes the sale of the Decar Nickel project in British Columbia and the remaining portfolio of exploration projects.


Cliffs’ stock exhibited the second highest gain of 432 percent among the more than 3,000 companies listed on the NYSE. Cliffs was the best performing stock among all Metals and Mining companies in 2016. Nearing the end of life of mine, Cliffs indefinitely idled its Empire Mine in Michigan.


Cleveland-Cliffs celebrated its 170th year as a company in 2017. As part of the celebration, the Company changed its name from Cliffs Natural Resources back to its historical name, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

The Company announced that it selected a site in Toledo, Ohio for the development of its first hot briquetted iron (HBI) production plant. The announcement marked an important strategic milestone, as the Company implemented plans to be the sole producer of high-quality HBI for the steel market in the Great Lakes region.

Cleveland-Cliffs also started production of the Mustang superflux pellet at its United Taconite mine. Cliffs invested a total of $75 million in cash to build a storage facility, silos, a limestone crusher, conveyors and rail infrastructure to support the production of the Mustang pellet.


Cleveland-Cliffs held a groundbreaking event with state and local dignitaries to celebrate the construction of its first hot-briquetted iron (HBI) production plant.


Cleveland-Cliffs completed a $100 million expansion at its Northshore Mining operation to support large-scale commercial production of DR-grade pellets. With its completion, Northshore Mining is now the only U.S. based iron ore processing facility to produce low silica DR-grade pellets. The Northshore operation produces DR-grade pellet feedstock inventory for Cliffs’ Hot Briquetted Iron Plant in Toledo, OH.

The Company completed the erection of the 457-foot furnace reactor tower for its hot briquetted iron (HBI) project in Toledo, OH., a significant milestone in the construction process.


Cleveland-Cliffs acquired AK Steel, combining North America’s largest producer of iron ore pellets, with a leading producer of innovative flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, to create a vertically integrated producer of value-added iron ore and steel products. The acquisition was completed in March 2020.

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