Empire Mine could reopen

MARQUETTE — Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. CEO Lourenco Goncalves said Friday that the company is close to announcing the reopening of the Empire Mine in Richmond Township.

His comments came during Cliffs’ 2018 Fourth-Quarter and Full-year Earning Conference Call.

“We have opportunities. We have one that’s actionable as we speak, and that’s Empire,” Goncalves said in the call. “We are finalizing our studies to bring back Empire. Remember, we never shut down Empire, we put Empire on indefinite idle, which means that under the right circumstances we would bring Empire back. We still have a few I’s to dot, a few T’s to cross, but I am very pleased to inform, for the first time actually in a public forum, that we are close to announce the resurgence of Empire.”

The Cleveland-based mining company has been weighing its options between reopening the idled Empire Mine or opening a potential mining site in Nashwauk, Minnesota. Goncalves said the “Empire is ahead of Nashwauk,” although no firm decisions have been announced.

The Empire Mine was idled in 2016, causing the loss of more than 300 jobs.