North America’s largest producer of iron ore pellets

As the largest iron ore producer in North America, Cliffs is well-positioned to serve the region’s steel producers. With the unique advantage of being the low-cost producer of pellets in this market, the fluctuations of the commoditized price of seaborne iron ore have a limited impact on us.

The structure of our U.S. Iron Ore contracts, our geographical position in the Great Lakes and the value-added products we supply to our North American customers make our U.S. pellet plants very unique and valuable when compared to any other iron ore assets in the entire world.

Five iron ore mines located in Michigan and Minnesota produce various grades of iron ore pellets, including standard and fluxed, for use in blast furnaces. As the mines are located near the Great Lakes, the majority of the pellets are transported by rail to loading ports for shipments via vessel.

EAF steel producers (‘mini-mills’) require a reliable and quality source of iron-based metallic. In 2015, Cliffs developed at its Northshore Mining operation a new product, DR-grade pellets, for feedstock in DRI production. Cliffs is well positioned to enter the market for ferrous scrap substitutes and sell to leading mini mills in the United States. We are pursuing this opportunity to further capitalize on the growing potential of electric arc furnace (EAF) steel production in North America and become a supplier of DR-grade pellets, pig iron and other alternative iron units (HBI).

  • 2015 Production volume: 19.3 million tons
  • Remaining Proven and Probable mineral reserves: 1,945 million long tons

Our Western Australia iron ore operations consist of the wholly-owned Koolyanobbing complex, a collective term for the operating deposits at Koolyanobbing, Windarling and Mount Jackson. The Koolyanobbing operations serve the Asian iron ore markets with direct-shipped fines and lump ore. Ore is crushed and blended at a plant located at the Koolyanobbing operation, and then transported by rail for shipment from the port of Esperance.

  • 2015 Production volume: 11.7 million tons
  • Remaining Proven and Probable mineral reserves: 49 million metric tons
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