Crain’s Cleveland Business – October 01, 2019 08:28 AM
Written by SCOTT SUTTELL
Iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) has completed a major step on its path to opening a $700 million hot briquetted iron (HBI) operation in Toledo.
Cliffs on Tuesday morning, Oct. 1, announced that it has completed erection of a 457-foot furnace reactor tower for the HBI project. It “represents a significant milestone in the construction process, as the furnace tower was the key critical path item in facilitating the advanced startup date for the commercial production of HBI,” Cliffs said in a news release.
The tower was completed in 296 days and involved 11 separate lifts using a Liebherr LR-13000 crawler crane, according to the release. The crane, which Cliffs described as one of the largest construction cranes in North America, has a 3,000-ton lifting capacity. It will be disassembled this month.
Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement, “I am proud that this portion of the project was accomplished in record time, and also completed with an industry-best environmental and safety record with 1.7 million man hours.”
He said the project is “ahead of schedule, with a commercial production start date in the first half of 2020.”
Cliffs in April 2018 announced plans to build the plant for the production of HBI in Toledo.
About 130 people will work at the plant upon its startup.
The Toledo plant will produce 1.6 million metric tons per year of customized HBI. Cliffs’ domestically produced HBI will supply a Great Lakes market that the company estimates at 3 million metric tons.
Cliffs, founded in 1847, describes itself as “the largest and oldest independent iron ore mining company in the United States.” The company is a major supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from its mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota.