Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. Agrees to Sell its Iron Ore Assets in Australia

CLEVELAND--()--Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) is pleased to announce today that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of substantially all of the assets of its Asia Pacific Iron Ore business to Mineral Resources Limited, a leading Australian mining services company with a portfolio of existing mining operations across multiple commodities, including iron ore. As a result of the transaction, Cliffs’ previously disclosed costs of closing the Australian operations are expected to be reduced by approximately $65-75 million based on Mineral Resources assuming certain obligations and Cliffs reaching negotiated settlements with other third parties. The transaction is supported by the Western Australian government.

Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer said, “The sale of these assets to Mineral Resources marks Cliffs’ exit from the Australian iron ore business, and represents the final step in the implementation of our US iron ore-centric strategy. We are pleased to have reached agreement on a transaction that not only brings real value to Cliffs shareholders, but also represents the potential for continued job opportunities for employees in Western Australia who would be impacted by the pending closure of the Koolyanobbing complex.” Mr. Goncalves added: “I commend the Cliffs’ Australian team for an outstanding job achieving great safety, production and quality results over the years and also maintaining a positive attitude and accomplishing our operating objectives the last few years in spite of the many headwinds the direct-ship iron ore industry has faced during this period.”

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the second quarter of 2018, subject to certain conditions precedent being achieved. Cliffs stated that the deal is structured as a sale of the following assets and assumption of certain related liabilities: mining tenements, mine facility assets, port assets and the benefit of certain contracts.

About Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

Founded in 1847, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. is the largest and oldest independent iron ore mining company in the United States. We are a major supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from our mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota. By 2020, Cliffs expects to be the sole producer of hot briquetted iron (HBI) in the Great Lakes region with the development of its first production plant in Toledo, Ohio. Driven by the core values of safety, social, environmental and capital stewardship, our employees endeavor to provide all stakeholders with operating and financial transparency. For more information, visit http://www.clevelandcliffs.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. As a general matter, forward-looking statements relate to anticipated trends and expectations rather than historical matters. Forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties and factors relating to Cliffs’ operations and business environment that are difficult to predict and may be beyond our control. Such uncertainties and factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date of this release, and we undertake no ongoing obligation, other than that imposed by law, to update these statements. Uncertainties and risk factors that could affect Cliffs’ future performance and cause results to differ from the forward-looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to: uncertainty and weaknesses in global economic conditions, including downward pressure on prices caused by oversupply or imported products, the impact of barriers to trade, the outcomes of trade cases, reduced market demand and any change to the economic growth rate in China; continued volatility of iron ore and steel prices and other trends, including the supply approach of the major iron ore producers, affecting our financial condition, results of operations or future prospects specifically, the impact of price-adjustment factors on our sales contracts; our ability to successfully diversify our product mix and add new customers beyond our traditional blast furnace clientele, specifically successful completion of our HBI production plant; our level of indebtedness could limit cash flow available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes or ongoing needs of our business; availability of capital and our ability to maintain adequate liquidity; risks related to former and current international operations, including our ability to successfully conclude the CCAA process in Canada and plan to close our Asia Pacific business in a manner that minimizes cash outflows and associated liabilities, including, among other things, our ability to successfully complete the sale of the Asia Pacific Iron Ore business and our ability to reach negotiated settlements with other third parties in connection with such sale; our actual economic iron ore reserves or changes in current mineral estimates, including whether any mineralized material qualifies as a reserve; the impact of our customers reducing their steel production due to increased market share of steel produced using other methods or lighter-weight steel alternatives; the ability of our customers, joint venture partners and significant suppliers and service providers to meet their obligations to us on a timely basis or at all; the outcome of any litigation or arbitration, including any contractual disputes with our customers, joint venture partners or significant energy, material or service providers; our ability to maintain satisfactory relations with unions and employees; impacts of existing and increasing governmental regulation and related costs and liabilities, including failure to receive or maintain required operating and environmental permits, approvals, modifications or other authorization of, or from, any governmental or regulatory entity and costs related to implementing improvements to ensure compliance with regulatory changes; problems or uncertainties with productivity, tons mined, transportation, capital spending, mine-closure obligations, environmental liabilities, employee benefit costs and other risks of the mining industry; our ability to cost-effectively achieve planned production rates or levels, including at our HBI production plant; our ability to successfully identify and consummate any strategic investments or development projects, including our HBI production plant; changes in sales volume or mix; our ability to reach agreement with our customers regarding any modifications to sales contract provisions, renewals or new arrangements; events or circumstances that could impair or adversely impact the viability of a mine and the carrying value of associated assets, as well as any resulting impairment charges; uncertainties associated with natural disasters, weather conditions, unanticipated geological conditions, supply or price of energy, equipment failures and other unexpected events; adverse changes in currency values, currency exchange rates, interest rates and tax laws; uncertainty relating to restructurings in the steel industry and/or affecting the steel industry; and the potential existence of significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting.

For additional factors affecting the business of Cliffs, refer to Part I – Item 1A. Risk Factors of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017. You are urged to carefully consider these risk factors.

Contacts

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
MEDIA:
Patricia Persico, (216) 694-5316
Director, Corporate Communications
or
INVESTORS:
Paul Finan, (216) 694-6544
Director, Investor Relations

Release Summary

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of substantially all of the assets of its Asia Pacific Iron business.

Contacts

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.
MEDIA:
Patricia Persico, (216) 694-5316
Director, Corporate Communications
or
INVESTORS:
Paul Finan, (216) 694-6544
Director, Investor Relations