Cliffs reaches construction milestone at Toledo HBI development

Cleveland-Cliffs on Monday announced it has completed the erection of the 457-foot furnace reactor tower for its hot briquetted iron (HBI) project in Toledo. The project could haver been built in Minnesota but the administration of former Gov. Mark Dayton was bamboozled by another developer that had no iron mining experience and subsequently declared bankruptcy.

Cliffs said the Toledo development represents a significant milestone in the construction process as the furnace tower was the key element in facilitating the advanced start-up date for the commercial production of HBI. 

Erection of the tower took 296 days to complete. That's the fastest timeframe ever for a Midrex facility, Cliffs said. The completion of the tower involved 11 separate lifts using a Liebherr LR-13000 crawler crane with a 3,000 ton lifting capacity. The crane will be disassembled this month.

“I want to publicly thank the HBI construction team for their efforts in the completion of this crucial milestone ahead of our original schedule. I am proud that this portion of the project was accomplished in record time, and also completed with an industry-best environmental and safety record with 1.7 million man hours. Thanks to this hard work, we remain ahead of schedule with a commercial production start date in the first half of 2020.”