Cleveland-Cliffs is resuming hot-briquetted iron (HBI) construction at its Toledo, Ohio, production plant and readying to restart operations at its Tilden mining operation in Marquette County, Michigan.
The HBI plant, which will have capacity to produce at least 1.9mn mt of HBI per annum, temporarily paused construction on March 20 because of the pandemic. The company is presently remobilizing its workforce to once again supply EAF steelmakers.
Construction is anticipated to be complete during this year’s fourth quarter. Production was originally slated to begin by mid-2020, however, social distance mandates and other safety directives limited the number of workers permitted on the job at the same time.
The Tilden mine, which mainly supplies company-owned AK Steel plants in Middletown, Ohio and Dearborn, Michigan, was idled at the end of April with the intention of resuming activities in July. Cliffs now plans to restart the mine later this month in response to steel demand from AK Steel’s customers improving faster than expected, especially in the automotive sector.
Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ chairman, president, and chief executive officer, noted that steel, iron ore, and metallics demand has markedly improved in the past month, and as a result the company can restart Toledo and Tilden ahead of the earlier timetable.
The company already resumed operations at several other previously idled facilities, including AK Tube, Mansfield Works, Precision Partners, and Dearborn downstream facilities, which comprise the galvanizing line and PLTCM.
Cliffs also said in mid-April that it would temporarily idle production at its Northshore mine, and eyed an August restart, but no updates were provided during Tuesday’s announcement.