By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 1, 2019

VIRGINIA, Minn. (AP) - Global iron ore producer ArcelorMittal USA says it doesn’t expect any changes in employment, production or operations when it assumes its role as managing partner for Hibbing Taconite later this year.

ArcelorMittal will take over managing duties from Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. effective Aug. 12. Cleveland-Cliffs announced earlier this year that it planned to resign from its position as managing partner in the open-pit mining operation when its contract expires. Hibbing Taconite began production in 1976 and currently has 735 hourly and salaried employees. The iron ore mine and pellet processing facility produces 7.7 million tons of taconite annually.

The companies say that while management of the facility will change, ownership of the Iron Range operation will not. About 62 percent of Hibbing Taconite is owned by ArcelorMittal with Cliffs and U.S. Steel owning the remaining percentage.

ArcelorMittal President John Brett said the decision to take over management of the company was an easy one.

“When Cliffs announced it would tender its resignation as managing partner, we knew that assuming oversight for the operation was the right thing for our business, the Hibbing workers and the Iron Range community,” Brett said in a statement. “Assuming the role of managing partner demonstrates ArcelorMittal’s continued commitment to Hibbing Taconite while ensuring the long-term supply of quality iron ore to our key operations in the United States.”

ArcelorMittal produced more than 62 million tons of iron ore in 2017.

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