Marquette hoping Cliffs expands operations in U.P., re-opens Empire Mine

Published: Feb. 6, 2018 at 4:14 PM EST
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"So even though it costs more money to build in Michigan, it will be faster to build in Michigan, so that's the decision we have to go through at this point," said Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves.

Cliffs is expanding its operations but has not decided if they will re-open the Empire Mine or turn to Minnesota, instead.

CEO Gonsalves says he wants the cities up help him make up his mind and Amy Clickner thinks Michigan has the advantage.

"I do think that we have such a great opportunity because we support mining so diligently, you know they've been here 170 years but we also have new mining laws in place for nonferrous mines, as well, so we've said, 'Michigan wants mining, if you meet or exceed the regulations you have the right to do business here,' and Minnesota hasn't taken that exact same step," said Amy Clickner, CEO of Lake Superior Community Partnership.

Clickner will meet with Cliffs this week to find out what the company needs and from there will meet with community organizations.

"I think a lot of us were surprised at the announcement, we didn't see it coming, so now it's sitting down and figuring out, where exactly do we need to spend our resources and our time and our energy," said Clickner.

Re-opening the Empire Mine in the U.P. will be more costly because of the mine sitting idle, but can be done more quickly than Minnesota starting a new operation.

"So from the Empire Mine idling they have to take out a lot of, a certain type of rock to get to the iron ore where, because it's been mined for so many years, the location that they're talking about in Minnesota they would be able to get to the iron ore a lot quicker, a lot less expensive," said Clickner.

CEO Goncalves has stated that he is going to make a decision sometime in 2018.