Cliffs to reopen production lines at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay

By KBJR News 1

October 25, 2013 Updated Oct 25, 2013 at 5:49 PM CST

Silver Bay, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- It's back to the production line for Northshore Mining in Silver Bay.

Market forces are pushing up demand for iron ore, which is promising for the company

"I think anytime an operation is ramping up production its positive and so this is a really good day for Northshore mining and the communities that surround our operations," said Sandy Karnowski, Director of Public Affairs for Cliffs Natural Resources.

Cliffs Natural Resources announced that it will re-open two idled production lines that have been shut down at Northshore Mining since January.

Cliffs signed a new contract with A-K Steel to provide taconite through 20-23.

Iron ore sale projections for next year are expected to be between 23 and 24 million tons, compared with 20 million tons this year.

"Due to an increase in customer demand, Cliffs needs to increase production next year and so our plan is to restart idle production lines at Northshore mining," said Karnowski.

Eighty people were laid off when the production lines were idled, some have been recalled, while more than 50 remained off the job.
It is unknown at this time if or when those workers will be called back.

"It's too early for us to know. I mean, this is something we really need to look at as far as what it's going take to ramp up these two production lines and really focus in on what our workforce needs are going to be," said Karnowski.

For the town of Silver Bay, Mayor Joanne Johnson says the city is pleased with the news and remains hopeful that it will put people back to work

"When they go through their aches and pains, we do too in the city and now with the new development it's a win win situation," said Mayor Joanne Johnson.

After all, Northshore Mining is the largest employer in town, providing jobs for nearly 600 people.

"When push comes to shove, Northshore Mining and Cleveland Cliffs is the root of why we exist here," said Johnson.

Cliffs says the lines are expected to be back up and running sometime next year, an exact date has not yet been set.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com