June 12 Cliffs Natural Resources Inc
said it was temporarily stopping environmental assessment for
its $3.3 billion chromite project in northwestern Ontario due to
unresolved land rights and unfinished agreements with the
Cliffs, primarily an iron ore and coal producer, plans to
develop North America's first major chromite mine in a remote
cluster of rich mineral deposits called the 'Ring of Fire'.
Chromite is refined into ferrochrome, which is used to make
stainless steel. The project includes a $600 million highway.
"... Given the current unresolved issues, we cannot and will
not unilaterally move the process forward and must manage our
resources appropriately," Bill Boor, senior vice president for
global ferroalloys, said on Wednesday.
Cliffs has been battered by weak iron ore prices. Relatively
high-cost iron ore producers like Cliffs have been particularly
hit as soft Chinese demand weighs on companies that supply
The Cleveland-based company's shares closed at $17.50 on
Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has plunged
about 64 percent in the past year.