Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. ("Cliffs") today announced that it will be resuming construction of its Hot-Briquetted Iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio, and accelerating the restart of its Tilden mining operations in Michigan.
The construction of the Toledo HBI plant was temporarily shut down on March 20, 2020, and the Company has now begun the process of remobilizing the workforce to complete the project. Due to mandatory social distancing and other newly implemented safety related measures limiting the number of workers allowed to be present simultaneously on the job, construction is now expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
The Tilden mine primarily supplies the Company's own AK Steel facilities in Middletown, Ohio and Dearborn, Michigan. The mine was idled in mid-April, with a restart previously expected in July. The company now plans to restart Tilden later this month. The earlier restart of Tilden comes in response to a faster improvement in steel demand from AK Steel's clients than initially anticipated, particularly in the automotive sector.
Cliffs' Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves said, "The demand for our steel, iron ore, and metallics products has recovered dramatically over the past month, and in light of this, we are restarting Toledo and Tilden sooner than we originally expected. We suspended these operations in a way that allowed us to restart as easily and efficiently as possible, and that is what we will do. Our footprint is well situated to capitalize on the rapidly increasing demand from the automotive sector, which is occurring faster than our most aggressive expectations."
The Company has also already restarted numerous other previously idled facilities across the footprint, including Precision Partners, AK Tube, Mansfield Works, and the Dearborn downstream facilities, including the PLTCM and the galvanizing line.