Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony April 5 for its first hot briquetted iron (HBI) production plant, the only plant of its kind in the Great Lakes region. The $700 million facility, which will be built on a site near the Port of Toledo, will produce HBI for use in electric arc furnaces.

JobsOhio Sector Director Jonathan Bridges, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, State Representatives Michael Sheehy, Michael Ashford and Theresa Fedor, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Dean Monske, President and CEO, Regional Growth Partnership and Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority attended the event, recognizing the significant impact the plant will have on the Toledo region. The project will create up to 1,200 construction jobs during the two-year construction period. Once complete in mid-2020, the plant will employ 130 workers earning an average salary and benefit package totaling more than $100,000 a year.

JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer John Minor said he was thrilled Cleveland-Cliffs chose Ohio for this investment. “The Toledo Ironville Terminal site is a great location for this first direct reduced iron project in the Great Lakes Region,” said Minor. “JobsOhio, along with our regional partner RGP, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the City of Toledo are looking forward to supporting Cliffs as they construct this landmark facility.”

Headquartered in Cleveland, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. is a major supplier of iron-ore pellets to North American steelmakers that use traditional blast furnaces. The new plantwill enable the company to produce 1.6 million tons a year of HBI for use in electric arc furnaces. This plant will provide electric arc furnace steel producers with a reliable, high quality source of raw materials compared to imported feedstock and scrap metal.

Cleveland-Cliffs officials like Ohio’s favorable business environment, the region’s ready workforce and the site’s proximity to a concentration of steelmakers that use electric arc furnaces. The site itself meets all of the company’s needs: rail and port access, heavy haul roads for construction, and all of the necessary utilities, including water, electric power and natural gas.

“The groundbreaking of the Cleveland-Cliffs Toledo HBI facility marks the culmination of over a year of engagement and partnership with JobsOhio, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, RGP, the City of Toledo and other local stakeholders,” said Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs. “We are grateful for the support of JobsOhio and our other governmental partners, and we look forward to continuing our work with these stakeholders as this project takes shape.”