The area received some good news in recent days about the Tilden Mine in National Mine. Cliffs Natural Resources announced it will extend its iron ore pellet sale and purchase agreement with Essar Steel Algoma Inc. until 2024. Previously expected to expire in 2016, according to a written statement issued by Cliffs, the agreement includes Essar's minimum volume iron ore pellet purchases from Cliffs beyond 2016 and pricing for 2013 through 2024..
The contract extension will help support the hundreds of well-paying United Steelworkers jobs at the Tilden Mine. Estimates are the Tilden has ore reserves that are substantial enough to keep it operational and viable for the next three decades, one Cliffs official said recently. That's good news for the area and region, which to some degree enjoy support from the mine.
The contract extension at the Tilden Mine will do nothing, unfortunately, for activities at the Empire Mine in Palmer, where hundreds more are employed. The Empire's contract with major steel-maker Arcelor Mittal expires next year and Cliffs officials anticipate shuttering operations at the Empire at that time.
We are pleased to congratulate Cliffs on the Tilden Mine contract extension but moderate that excitement with the sobering realization that the end is near for the Empire Mine.