CLEVELAND, Feb. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) announced today that it plans to dissolve its Michigan Iron Nuggets Joint Venture with Kobe Steel. The joint venture was originally formed in 2007 to explore the viability of constructing a commercial operation to produce a pig iron substitute using Kobe's ITmk3 technology and Cliffs' iron ore assets. This product was anticipated to be marketed as a feedstock to the electric arc furnace and foundry markets. The plant was designed and permitted for construction adjacent to Cliffs' operations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Cliffs indicated that throughout the life of the venture it had conducted a number of feasibility studies on the possibility of pursuing a commercially viable process, but ultimately concluded that given its strategic priorities to focus on its core business, continued work on the project should be ended.Joseph Carrabba, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cliffs, said, "We are disappointed that we are not able to move forward with the iron nugget facility, but remain very appreciative of the efforts made by federal, state, county and township officials who worked with Cliffs over several years on this project. We are grateful for their support in the exploration of this potential industrial operation in Michigan." Cliffs said it had less than 10 employees exclusively working on the joint venture and plans to reassign nearly all to other positions within the Company. In addition, there are no anticipated material financial impacts as a result of the decision. About Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is an international mining and natural resources company. A member of the S&P 500 Index, the Company is a major global iron ore producer and a significant producer of high- and low-volatile metallurgical coal. Cliffs' strategy is to continually achieve greater scale and diversification in the mining industry through a focus on serving the world's largest and fastest growing steel markets. Driven by the core values of social, environmental and capital stewardship, Cliffs associates across the globe endeavor to provide all stakeholders operating and financial transparency.