Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Concludes the Sale of Logan County Coal and Provides Update on Bloom Lake

CLEVELAND, Jan. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) is pleased to announce that it has completed the sale of its Logan County Coal assets in West Virginia to Coronado Coal II LLC, an affiliate of Coronado Coal LLC, for $174 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. The expected tax benefit associated with the transaction will be between 20% to 25% of the previously disclosed pre-tax loss of approximately $400 million, which represents an additional benefit of $80 million to $100 million in future cash tax savings. Cliffs will record the results of this sale in its fourth quarter earnings.

Separately, Cliffs confirms that active production at Bloom Lake has completely ceased and the exit from Eastern Canada continued to be executed on schedule as previously announced. The mine has transitioned to care and maintenance status and, consequently, at this time only a small number of employees involved in such activities are still in the payroll. The last shipment of iron ore out of the Port of Sept-Iles will be completed in early January 2015.  

Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs' Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer said, "The execution of the strategic initiatives outlined during our Q3 Conference Call in October 2014 continued to progress as planned during the last two months. The sale of Logan County Coal, which included a meaningful tax benefit to the Company, clearly demonstrates our ability to execute complex transactions despite an adverse M&A environment for commodity related transactions. Additionally, as we approach the final steps of our exit from Eastern Canada, we have brought to an end the flawed expansion that has cost Cliffs and its shareholders billions of dollars."

Mr. Goncalves added: "As Cliffs becomes a nimble company sharply focused on being the major supplier of iron ore to the American steel industry, with no U.S. iron ore contracts re-setting any time in 2015 or 2016, no portion of our public debt maturing until 2018, and a strong 2015 economic forecast for the United States, we believe that we are better positioned than any other iron ore mining company in the world to deliver profits in 2015."

About Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is a leading mining and natural resources company. The Company is a major supplier of iron ore pellets to the U.S. steel industry from its mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota. Cliffs also produces low-volatile metallurgical coal in the U.S. from its mines located in West Virginia and Alabama.  Additionally, Cliffs operates an iron ore mining complex in Western Australia and owns two non-operating iron ore mines in Eastern Canada. Driven by the core values of social, environmental and capital stewardship, Cliffs' employees endeavor to provide all stakeholders operating and financial transparency. News releases and other information on the Company are available at:

About Coronado Coal LLC
Coronado Coal LLC was formed August of 2011 to acquire, develop, and operate coal assets throughout the world.  The company is headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut, USA.

Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although the Company believes that its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to Cliffs' operations and business environment that are difficult to predict and may be beyond Cliffs' control. Such uncertainties and factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons including without limitation: our ability to successfully execute an exit option for Bloom Lake mine that minimizes the cash outflows and associated liabilities of our Canadian operations; trends affecting our financial condition, results of operations or future prospects, particularly the continued volatility of iron ore and coal prices; our actual levels of capital spending; uncertainty or weaknesses in global economic conditions, including downward pressure on prices, reduced market demand and any slowing of the economic growth rate in China; our ability to successfully identify and consummate any strategic investments and complete planned divestitures; the outcome of any contractual disputes with our customers, joint venture partners or significant energy, material or service providers or any other litigation or arbitration; the ability of our customers and joint venture partners to meet their obligations to us on a timely basis or at all; our ability to reach agreement with our iron ore customers regarding any modifications to sales contract provisions; the impact of price-adjustment factors on our sales contracts; changes in sales volume or mix; our actual economic iron ore and coal reserves or reductions in current mineral estimates, including whether any mineralized material qualifies as a reserve; the impact of our customers using other methods to produce steel or reducing their steel production; events or circumstances that could impair or adversely impact the viability of a mine and the carrying value of associated assets; the results of prefeasibility and feasibility studies in relation to projects; impacts of existing and increasing governmental regulation and related costs and liabilities, including failure to receive or maintain required operating and environmental permits, approvals, modifications or other authorization of, or from, any governmental or regulatory entity and costs related to implementing improvements to ensure compliance with regulatory changes; our ability to cost-effectively achieve planned production rates or levels; uncertainties associated with natural disasters, weather conditions, unanticipated geological conditions, supply or price of energy, equipment failures and other unexpected events; adverse changes in currency values, currency exchange rates, interest rates and tax laws; availability of capital and our ability to maintain adequate liquidity and successfully implement our financing plans; our ability to maintain appropriate relations with unions and employees and enter into or renew collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms; risks related to international operations; availability of capital equipment and component parts; the potential existence of significant deficiencies or material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting; problems or uncertainties with productivity, tons mined, transportation, mine-closure obligations, environmental liabilities, employee-benefit costs and other risks of the mining industry; and other factors and risks that are set forth in the Company's most recently filed reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The information contained herein speaks as of the date of this release and may be superseded by subsequent events. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements contained in this release.

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SOURCE Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.