PALMER - Previously announced in December of 2011, Cliffs Natural Resources is set to begin production curtailment and temporary layoffs at the Empire Mine in Palmer.
Previously announced at 600 layoffs, beginning Sunday 245 mine workers will be put on temporary layoff status as Cliffs adjusts its production from the mine to meet customer needs, said Dale Hemmila, director of Public Affairs for Cliffs in North America.
"It's really based on customer demand," Hemmila said.
The production curtailment adjusts the Empire Mine's full-year 2012 production volume to 2.7 million tons, down from 2011's full-year production volume of approximately 4.6 million tons.
The layoffs are expected to last until Oct. 15.
Hemmila said the first two weeks of the layoff period would be mandatory vacation time, with 89 of the 245 employees on voluntary layoff.
Because of the bumping system in place at both the Empire Mine and Tilden Mine in National Mine, the production curtailment and layoffs will affect employees at both facilities, Hemmila said.
"The reason we were able to reduce that number is we decided to move forward with some pit development," Hemmila said, adding employees will be working on a number of projects even though production at the Empire facility is shut down.
Despite the Empire shutdown, Cliffs is expected to maintain its full-year expected sales and production volumes of 23 million tons for the U.S. Iron Ore business segment.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401.