Cliffs recognizes that the extraction and processing of mineral resources must be accomplished in a manner that creates benefits for the communities in which we operate, minimizes impacts on the environment, and that the heart of sustainable business practices is earning and maintaining our social license to operate. We seek to create shareholder value by implementing strategies that enhance this license to operate, improve safety and environmental performance, and reduce operating costs.

Embedding these fundamentals into our business not only helps achieve environmental and social sustainability goals, but helps ensure that we remain economically viable amidst the challenges of a volatile pricing environment and a deeply cyclical, highly-competitive industry. Through this approach, we look forward to generating opportunities for future generations.

At Cliffs, keeping our employees safe remains the top core value for the Company. If one were to take a survey of each of our operators, they would prefer to have an outstanding safety record over an outstanding record on costs. Employee safety starts with training, not just in rules and regulations, but how to apply them each day. Each employee is shown how they can protect themselves by conducting risk assessments such as Take-5, Workplace Exams, and Hazard ID Tours to identify and eliminate hazards prior to starting work.

Cliffs has begun to implement a performance improvement process called Check-6 that focuses on ensuring each task is planned thoroughly, the employees are briefed on the task, it’s executed to the plan, and there is a chance to debrief after the task is complete to understand what went well and what did not. This cycle allows for continual improvement of tasks. If any employee is injured, the company conducts rigorous incident investigations to identify the root causes and implement corrective actions to prevent recurrence of the incident.

With all of this, Cliffs safety record shines compared to other industry peers. In 2015, the company’s key safety performance indicator, Total Reportable Injury Rate (TRIR), or incident per 200,000 hours worked, finished the year at 1.42, the lowest of the decade and 20% lower than YE-2014, despite reductions in headcount. This compares to an industry average TRIR of 2.60.

With regard to environmental and thus, community safety, the Company recognizes that superior environmental performance supports lower operating costs, provides currency with stakeholders and demonstrates commitment to environmental stewardship. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company had 75 environmental incidents in USIO, a 38% reduction compared with the previous year, in the face of unprecedented stakeholder and environmental regulatory pressures.

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