Cliffs Natural Resources reported U.S. iron ore (USIO) pellet sales for the first quarter of 2017 of 3.1 million long tons, a 63% increase compared to the first quarter of 2016 (1 long ton = 1.12 short tons). “During the first quarter, we put our finishing touches on what has been a remarkable operational, commercial and financial transformation of this company,” said Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO, Cliffs. “Over the last two and half years, Cliffs has transformed itself into a lean and focused company, with a strong balance sheet and a lot less to pay in interest expense. This is particularly evident in our strong first quarter results… We expect 2017 to be a phenomenal year of EBITDA and free cash flow generation.”

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