Construction at the Toledo HBI plant is shut down on March 20, but the company is starting to mobilize its workforce, with an anticipated completion in the fourth quarter. (Photo: Cleveland-Cliffs)

Construction at Cleveland-Cliffs’ Hot-Briquetted Iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio, will resume and the restart of its Tilden mining operations in Michigan will be accelerated, according to the company. Construction of the Toledo HBI plant was temporarily shut down on March 20. The company has begun the process of remobilizing the workforce to complete the project. It is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter due to mandatory social distancing and other safety-related measures that have limited the number of workers allowed at the job site.

The Tilden mine, which primarily supplies the company’s own AK Steel facilities in Middletown, Ohio, and Dearborn, Michigan, was idled in mid-April, with a restart previously expected in July. The company now plans to restart Tilden later this month. The earlier restart of Tilden comes in response to a faster improvement in steel demand from AK Steel’s clients than initially anticipated, particularly in the automotive sector, according to the company.

“The demand for our steel, iron ore, and metallics products has recovered dramatically over the past month, and in light of this, we are restarting Toledo and Tilden sooner than we originally expected,” Cliffs Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves said. “We suspended these operations in a way that allowed us to restart as easily and efficiently as possible, and that is what we will do. Our footprint is well situated to capitalize on the rapidly increasing demand from the automotive sector, which is occurring faster than our most aggressive expectations.”

The company has also already restarted numerous other previously idled facilities, including Precision Partners, AK Tube, Mansfield Works, and the Dearborn downstream facilities, as well as the PLTCM and the galvanizing line.