With a corporate heritage dating back 168 years, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has been a major supplier to the production of iron and steel in the U.S. by offering steelmakers world-class raw materials. Today, Cliffs continues to be a leading iron ore mining company and operator. Pioneers in developing the beneficiation and pelletizing process, the Company holds the top position as the largest iron ore producer of pellets in North America, as well as one of the lowest cost producers in the world. Cliffs’ technical knowledge and expertise has helped the company to foster strong relationships with steel producers through the years.
A Partner for Steelmaking Customers
Cliffs’ U.S. Iron Ore operations located in Michigan and Minnesota had an annual rate capacity of 32.9 million tons of iron ore pellet production in 2015, which represents approximately 56 percent of total U.S. pellet production capacity. Cliffs owns and operates five of the eight open pit iron ore mining and processing facilities in the U.S. While most iron ore producers mine, market and sell a commoditized product to steel producers, Cliffs’ production of high-grade, custom-made pellets is the differentiating factor when comparing the Company to its peers in the iron ore industry.
As a differentiated mining company, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is uniquely positioned to satisfy the requirements of its North American steelmaking customers. Its high-grade, premium pellets are customized for and fed directly to its customers’ blast furnaces and are produced under the most stringent environmental regulatory framework in the world. Thanks to its long-term partnerships with North American steelmakers, Cliffs operates under stable contracts, serving the growing end-markets for steel such as automotive, construction, white goods and manufacturing.
EAF steel producers (‘mini-mills’) in North America require a reliable and quality source of iron-based metallics. Cliffs is pursuing the opportunity to tap into this potential market to become a supplier of DR-grade pellets, pig iron and other alternative iron units. Using its technical expertise to increase product offerings, Cliffs developed a new product, DR-grade pellets, for feedstock in DRI production. The Company has reached a significant milestone with full-scale production testing, and is well-positioned to move forward in this market.
Cliffs’ Western Australia iron ore operations consist of the wholly-owned Koolyanobbing complex, a collective term for the operating deposits at Koolyanobbing and Mount Jackson. The Koolyanobbing operations serve the Asian iron ore markets with direct-shipped fines and lump ore. Ore is crushed and blended, then transported by rail for shipment from the port of Esperance.
License to Operate
Driven by the core values of safety, social, environmental and capital stewardship, Cliffs’ employees are committed to providing all stakeholders with operating and financial transparency. Fundamental to the Company’s business is responsible and safe operation, respectful engagement and effective stewardship. By cultivating these values, Cliffs has been successful in developing opportunities while gaining the support of its stakeholders and agencies that grant its license to operate.
Roadmap to Future Financial Success
- Cliffs’ roadmap for future financial success is simple and actionable.
- Maintain non-stop focus on cost reduction
- Use technical expertise and strong market position in the U.S. to increase product offering and
foster improved profitability
- Continue to pursue debt reduction opportunities