Cliffs Natural Resources announced today it will be restarting iron-ore pellet production at its Northshore Mining operation in Minnesota by May 15. The company is taking the action based on its domestic customers’ demand for iron-ore pellets and consistent with its previously announced production plans for the year.

Cliffs’ Northshore iron-ore operation, which consists of a mine and a taconite pellet processing facility located, employs approximately 540 people. Cliffs is also operating at normal rates at its Hibbing Taconite mine, as well as the Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan. Cliffs’ United Taconite operations in Minnesota are currently idled.

“The avalanche of unfairly traded steel hitting the U.S. since last year negatively affected our clients’ production levels and, as a consequence, affected us,” said Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president and CEO. “At this time, with the trade cases approaching their final stages and preliminary duties being announced, the volume of unfairly traded steel is starting to subside. As our clients’ order books improve and their need for pellets approach more normal levels, we are pleased to announce that we are bringing back to work our dedicated employees at Northshore.

“In 2015, Cliffs developed at Northshore Mining a new product, the DR-grade pellets used as feedstock to DRI production,” Goncalves said. “As we restart operations at Northshore in May, we will also resume the production of DR-grade pellets destined to EAF clients.”

In accordance with Cliffs’ 2016 full-year projected U.S. iron ore production volume of 16 million tons, the company is maintaining its previous cash production cost per ton expectations for 2016 at $50 to $55 per ton and its cash cost of goods sold expectation is $55 to $60 per ton.

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