Cliffs closes Bloom Lake iron ore, sells coal assets

Cliffs closes Bloom Lake iron ore, sells coal assets

Cliffs' Bloom Lake iron ore is part of history now.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) announced Friday that active production at its Canadian Bloom Lake iron ore mine has completely ceased as the firm continues its plans to exit Eastern Canada as previously announced.

The company, which is the U.S.’s biggest iron ore miner, also said it has conclude the sale of part of its struggling coal division for $174 million, in cash, to Coronado Coal II LLC.

The Cleveland-based miner's move aims to fully exit higher-cost operations to focus only on its iron ore business in the U.S. As most of its peers, Cliffs has been struggling as a consequence of tumbling prices for iron ore and metallurgical coal, triggered by a slowdown in the Chinese steel industry.

Since becoming chairman and chief executive officer in August, Lourenco Goncalves has started unloading some of Cliffs’s previous acquisitions.

“As we approach the final steps of our exit from Eastern Canada, we have brought to an end the flawed expansion that has cost Cliffs and its shareholders billions of dollars," Goncalves said in a today’s statement.

He added he believed Cliffs was better positioned than any other iron ore mining company in the world to deliver profits in 2015.

In October last year, Cliffs took a $6bn charge related mainly to the ill-timed purchase of Bloom Lake, which was supposed to supply the then-booming Chinese steel market.