Hibbing Taconite is suspending mining operations in Minnesota on May 3 because steel demand has plunged, according to reports.
Catalyzed by the COVID-19 crisis, the modified production levels will result in around 650 out of 735 employees being laid off at the facility.
Hibbing Taconite, a joint venture between ArcelorMittal, Cleveland-Cliffs, and US Steel, intends to resume operations by July 6, 2020.
Hibbing is the third mine on the Mesabi iron range to announce it’s halting production and layoff the majority of its employees. Cleveland-Cliffs recently said it is idling Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay, laying off hundreds of workers, followed by US Steels’ announcement that it’s temporarily pausing production at its Keetac mine in Keewatin and putting hundreds out of work. Around 1,500 workers have been affected by layoffs at the three mines.
Hibbing Taconite mines around 29mn mt of iron ore per annum and produces around 7.8mn mt of standard iron-bearing pellets. The pellets are shipped to ArcelorMittal in Burns Harbor, Indiana, which, on April 19, hot idled blast furnace “C” for about two weeks. ArcelorMittal has overseen Hibbing’s management since August 2019.