Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. recently held a groundbreaking event to celebrate the construction of its first hot-briquetted iron (HBI) production plant. The company is investing $700 million to build one of the world’s most modern and efficient ironmaking facilities, which will generate a total of 130 new jobs in Toledo, Ohio. The Toledo plant will produce 1.6 million metric tons per year of customized HBI and will make Cleveland-Cliffs the sole producer of high-quality customized feedstock for domestic electric-arc-furnace (EAF) steelmakers in the Great Lakes region.

The company’s domestically produced HBI will supply a Great Lakes market currently estimated at 3 million metric tons, which is currently supplied exclusively by imports of commercial-quality pig iron and HBI from countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Venezuela. Start-up of the plant is expected to begin in the summer of 2020. At peak construction, 1,200 people will be working on the site.