- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

EVELETH, Minn. (AP) - Cliffs Natural Resources says it will temporarily idle its United Taconite mine in Eveleth and its pellet plant in Forbes.

About 480 employees work at the two facilities on Minnesota’s Iron Range, which has been hard hit by layoffs this spring and summer.

Cliffs CEO Laurenco Goncalves announced the idling on the company’s earnings call Wednesday.

Goncalves attributed the shutdown to a decline in demand from the company’s customers that use the taconite pellets to make steel in giant blast furnaces.

WDIO-TV reports Goncalves also said the facilities will be idled in a way that they can promptly bring back operations.

In St. Paul, Minnesota Public Radio News reports Gov. Mark Dayton told reporters Wednesday that he’s heading to the Iron Range to meet with steelworkers who will be idled.

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