Cliffs: RoF Mega-Miner

Note that Cliffs is no longer involved in the Ring of Fire, but information on this page may still be of interest.

CBC News, Thunder Bay: Ring of Fire project may see more delays, Nov 2, 2012

Cliffs Natural Resources appears to be slowing down somewhat. A spokesman said the company is reviewing its timeline on the Ring of Fire project, including “delaying major capital spending,” possibly pushing “the production target date beyond 2017.”

Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio: Cliffs fined for excessive hazardous waste, Oct 29, 2012

More carelessness by Cliffs Natural Resources. (See story from Quebec below.) In the spring and summer of 2011, Cliffs’ subsidiary, Northshore Mining, used excessive amounts of “corrosive hazardous waste leachate” to control dust at its landfill near Silver Bay, Minnesota. It also delivered a huge volume of leachate to a wastewater treatment plant. These offences are added to previous violations of air quality regulations at its taconite plant.

2011 Cliffs release of untreated water after dike breech
2011 Cliffs release of untreated water after dike breech

Philippe Teisceira-Lessard, La Presse; translation courtesy of Ramsay Hart, Mining Watch: Spills From Bloom Lake Iron Mine Becoming Routine, Sept 22, 2012. Original en français: Mine de fer du lac Bloom: déversements à répétition.

A Cliffs Natural Resources mine in Quebec has a disturbing environmental record. Here are excerpts from the article:

After five environmental accidents in 18 months and the spilling of millions of litres of contaminated water into some 15 natural water bodies, the company that operates Bloom Lake’s gigantic iron mine may be now reprimanded by the Ministry of the Environment.

Ministry officials suspect negligence on the part of the ownership and promise to crack down on the company.

In May 2011, the equivalent of 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools of untreated drainage water escaped the company’s facilities after a dike broke. Fifteen downstream lakes were affected by the breech.

Two days earlier, 10 000 litres of ferric sulfate had been emptied into the environment. This time, the Ministry had discovered that a holding pond did not meet regulations.

In April 2011, an “error in the mine’s used water treatment system design” caused a spill of two million litres of processing water containing mineral residues.