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Tilden to continue operations

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. officials say Tilden Mine employees will continue to go to work under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order that went into effect Tuesday. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. officials say Tilden Mine employees will continue to go to work under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order that went into effect Tuesday.

Cleveland-Cliffs’ Director of Corporate Communications Pat Persico confirmed via email on Wednesday that the mine is “operating at this time.”

“Michigan Gov. Whitmer’s administration issued an order directing all residents to ‘stay at home or place of residence’ for the preservation of public health in response to COVID-19, effective March 24, 2020, through April 13, 2020,” Persico said. “Within the order, businesses and operations that employ ‘critical infrastructure workers’ may continue in-person operations as identified by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”

In a company release Tuesday, Cliffs’ CEO Lourenco Goncalves commended Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for “recognizing the iron and steel industry as essential business.”

In a previous interview, Persico said the company began implementing a number of preventative measures in all facets of the business, including operations such as the Tilden Mine.

“We started with some of the offices and where it can work at the sites in the salary ranks, a work-from-home for nonessential functions,” Persico said during the interview. “At the corporate office, we did that ahead of the official guidelines from a lot of government officials.”

Company officials are “confident” that the company’s mine and mill sites will continue normal operations for the foreseeable future, “without any risk of contact to more than 10 people,” she said.

According to the Homeland Security website, CISA has identified 16 sectors as critical infrastructure in the work force including health care and public health; emergency services; energy; food and agriculture; the defense industrial base; government facilities; communications; chemical; financial services; dams; nuclear reactors, materials and waste; transportation systems; water and wastewater systems; and critical manufacturing.

“The CISA critical infrastructure list includes steel production as part of the critical manufacturing category essential to the economy and national security,” Persico said. “Due to this, the order ensures business continuity for Cleveland-Cliffs’ Tilden iron ore mine, our designated critical suppliers, and customers. Cleveland-Cliffs is taking all necessary actions to further protect the health and safety of our work force, as it is safety first in all that we do. We will keep you informed of any changes to our business.”

The Homeland Security site also states that CISA developed the critical sector guidance “to help state and local governments and the private sector ensure that employees essential to operations of critical infrastructure are able to continue working with as little interruption as possible.”

“The purpose of this guidance is to enable continued resilience for public community health and safety of government, economy and society despite possible impacts to the workforce and critical infrastructure work force brought on by consequences of COVID-19,” the site states.

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