Cleveland-Cliffs expects its US steelmaking operations to begin normalizing over the second and third quarters, depending on automotive plant restarts.
In the first quarter Cliffs idled its AK Steel Dearborn and Mansfield steel facilities, Northshore and Tilden iron ore mines, and curtailed AK Tube production by roughly 65pc in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cliffs expects operations, excluding the permanent shutdown of Dearborn's hot strip mill, to begin returning to normal over the coming months, based on current timelines for automotive plant restarts.
Northshore and Tilden are projected to restart in July and August, respectively.
In addition, the iron ore producer hopes to resume construction at its Toledo hot briquetted iron (HBI) plant as automotive shutdowns have squeezed busheling generation and thus raised in scrap alternatives. Cliffs suspended construction activities at the plant on 20 March because of Covid-19. Prior to the suspension, it had targeted a second quarter start up.
Production of iron ore pellets rose by 10pc to 4.8mn gross tons (gt) in the first quarter. Total pellet sales climbed by 38pc to 2.1mn gt but were down by 13pc when including 783,000 gt of intercompany sales.
Flat rolled shipments totaled 199,000 st covering the period of 13 March until the end of the quarter, when the AK Steel acquisition was finalized. AK shipped 1.4mn st over the entire first quarter of 2019.
Realized prices rose by 6pc to $99.53/gt in the first quarter from a year earlier. The average selling price for its flat rolled steel was $997/st.
Revenues rose to $324.5mn from $157mn a year earlier, but the company's loss grew to $79mn from an $800,000 loss the prior year period.
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