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      Cliffs disappointed with end of iron nugget projected

      High costs and infeasible technology led to Cliffs Natural Resources' decision to halt a $200 million mining project.

      Five years in the making, the venture with Japanese-based Kobe Steel to produce iron nuggets was called off Tuesday afternoon. To go forward with the project at the Empire Mine, the company says it would have had to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in technology that they say, was not ready for a commercial sale.

      Cliffs is thanking the community for their support over the years and shares their disappointment.

      "A lot of what we did was garner community support from the county, township, even state and federal officials," said Director of Public Affairs Dale Hemmila. "And we're really grateful we had that support. I know they are disappointed; certainly we're disappointed that we aren't able to move forward with this mining project."

      Ten workers were involved in the planning of the iron nugget project. According to Cliffs, all of those employees will be reassigned to other projects.