Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (NYSE: CLF) on Wednesday is celebrating the initial six months of continued operation and production of hot-briquetted iron (HBI) at the company’s state-of-the art direct reduction plant in Toledo. Cliffs’ Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves is hosting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for a ribbon cutting ceremony on site. The plant employs nearly 160 employees.

“Today we are celebrating a new era for the iron and steel industry in the United States. This event formally marks the culmination of our $1 billion investment to build and operate the world’s most modern and environmentally friendly direct reduction plant, and the first plant of its kind constructed for the present and for the future,” Goncalves said in a news release. “Natural gas based iron reduction is the future of our industry. The production and use of HBI within our operations has catalyzed what has been a phenomenal year for us and, very importantly, has supercharged our greenhouse emissions reduction program. It has also boosted our profitability through enhanced productivity in our blast furnaces and the avoidance of prime scrap purchases from third parties for use in our EAFs and BOFs.”

“I’m happy to be part of the celebration of Cleveland-Cliffs’ new direct reduction plant in Toledo,” said DeWine. “This plant is bringing new life to a site that is now producing domestically a much-needed product for the steel industry using an environmentally friendly process, and providing jobs and opportunities for workers in Northwest Ohio. When Cleveland-Cliffs was searching for a home for this plant, they recognized that Ohio is a great place to do business and chose Toledo because it has a ready workforce, excellent infrastructure and good partners to help lay the groundwork, such as JobsOhio, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the Regional Growth Partnership, the City of Toledo, and others.”

Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs' Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer will be speaking at the event along with the following dignitaries:

Cleveland-Cliffs has the nominal capacity to produce 1.9 million metric tons per year of customized high-quality HBI using natural gas based iron reduction. HBI can be used in blast furnaces to improve productivity and reduce GHG by lowering the amount of coke needed for steel production. HBI can also be used in EAFs and BOFs to replace foreign-sourced pig iron and prime scrap, thereby lowering costs and reducing the higher GHG emissions associated with pig iron production and transportation.