After forest fires forced Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) to temporarily idle its Wabush Scully iron ore mine in eastern Canada on June 28 following an emergency evacuation of the region, the miner said it was able to restart the mine yesterday and that it's fully operation once again.

During the fires, employees of Cliffs not only secured the mining operation, but also provided volunteer assistance and heavy equipment to create a firebreak for the town, the company said. Residents of the town of Wabush and nearby Fermont who were evacuated from their homes were also given food and access to the company's cafeteria. Cliffs employs nearly 500 people at its Wabush Scully mine.

Cliffs acquired a 100% stake in the mine in 2010, buying out joint venture partners United States Steel and ArcelorMittal for $88 million. The Wabush mines operation includes the Scully iron ore mine, the pellet plant and port facilities at Point Noire, Quebec, and integrated rail facilities. The miner also operates the Bloom Lake mine in the region, and the output from both is primarily sold into the seaborne market to Asian steel producers. 

Cliffs had expected to idle the Wabush pellet plant by the end of the second quarter because of high productions costs and low pellet pricing, believing the Bloom Lake operation was key to its future growth prospects.


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