CLEVELAND, June 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) today announced that it is reducing its full-year 2012 thermal coal sales and production volume expectations from 1.1 million tons to approximately 800,000 tons at its Toney Fork No. 2 surface mine in Man, WV. The adjustment is driven by a softer U.S. pricing environment for thermal coal products. The decreased volumes will result in the reduction of 46 hourly positions at the mining operation along with 13 salaried positions within the Company's administrative offices, effective June 15, 2012.
"Thermal coal usage for power generation has declined sharply, driven by the extremely mild winter and historically low natural gas prices," said David Webb, Cliffs' senior vice president of Global Coal Operations. "Therefore, Cliffs is announcing today that production at Toney Fork will be reduced to a level that will satisfy our existing supply agreements and customer requirements. Unfortunately, this decision will affect a number of our employees."
The Company's Toney Fork No. 2 surface mine was acquired in 2010 as part of Cliffs' acquisition of the coal operations of INR Energy. The operation's results are reported within Cliffs' North American Coal business segment.The Company maintains its full-year 2012 expected North American metallurgical coal sales at 6.0 million tons and production volumes at 5.5 million tons. 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. The Company is organized through a global commercial group responsible for sales and delivery of Cliffs products and a global operations group responsible for the production of the minerals the Company markets. Cliffs operates iron ore and coal mines in North America and two iron ore mining complexes in Western Australia. The Company also has a 45% economic interest in a coking and thermal coal mine in Queensland, Australia. In addition, Cliffs has a major chromite project, in the feasibility stage of development, located in Ontario, Canada. News releases and other information on the Company are available on the Internet at: http://www.cliffsnaturalresources.com Forward-Looking StatementsThis release contains "forward-looking" statements within the safe harbor protections of the federal securities laws. Although the Company believes that its forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties relating to Cliffs' operations and business environment that are difficult to predict and may be beyond Cliffs' control. Such uncertainties and factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons including: the uncertainty or weakness in global economic and/or market conditions; trends affecting our financial condition, results of operations or future prospects, particularly any slowing of the economic growth rate in China for an extended period; the ability to successfully integrate acquired companies and achieve post-acquisition synergies, including without limitation, Consolidated Thompson; the ability to reach agreement with our iron ore customers regarding modifications to sales contract pricing escalation provisions to reflect a shorter-term or spot-based pricing mechanism; the outcome of any contractual disputes with our customers, joint venture partners or significant energy, materials or services providers, or any other litigation or arbitration; changes in sales volume or mix; the impact of price-adjustment factors on our sales contracts; our ability to successfully identify and consummate any strategic investments; unanticipated downturns in business relationships with customers or their purchases from us; events or circumstances that could impair or adversely impact the viability of a mine and the carrying value of associated assets; the results of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies in relation to projects; impacts of increasing governmental regulation, including failure to receive or maintain required environmental permits, approvals, modifications or other authorization of, or from, any governmental or regulatory entity; the ability to achieve planned production rates or levels; our actual economic ore reserves or reductions in current resource estimates; adverse changes in currency values, currency exchange rates and interest rates; the ability to maintain adequate liquidity and successfully implement our financing plans; our ability to maintain appropriate relations with unions and employees and renew expiring collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms; availability of capital equipment and component parts; the amount and including timing of any insurance recovery proceeds with respect to Oak Grove Mine; risks related to international operations; potential existence of significant deficiencies or material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting; and problems or uncertainties with productivity, third-party contractors, unanticipated geological conditions, weather conditions, natural disasters, tons mined, changes in cost factors, the supply or price of energy, equipment failures, transportation, mine-closure obligations and employee benefit costs and other risks of the mining industry; and other factors and risks that are set forth in the Company's most recently filed reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information contained herein speaks as of the date of this release and may be superseded by subsequent events. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, we do not undertake any obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements contained in this release. SOURCE Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.