$700 million investment brings steel, jobs to Toledo

The new facility will bring with it around 120 permanent jobs.

Toledo, Lucas County (WNWO) The largest iron ore mining company in the United States announced plans to set up shop in Northwestern Ohio on Thursday.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will build a new production plant at the Ironville Terminal in East Toledo.

The plan represents a $700 million investment in the Toledo Region.

"It's as big as it gets around here," said Jim Tuschman, chairman of the Port Authority board of directors. "It's phenomenal. This is a great addition to what used to be a great manufacturing town."

The new facility will bring with it around 120 permanent jobs.

It's estimated the construction of the facility will require more than 1,200 workers over a six-month span.

The Port Authority has been working on this plan, competing against other cities, for the past six months.

"Our greatest strength is our location for transportation," said Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada. "This maximizes everything we can do well. This puts us on the map. The economic development potential is huge. I think we're going to see more and more things coming to Toledo because of this tremendous investment."

"This is the perfect location," said Joe Cappel, vice president of business development for the Port Authority. "We had the land, the infrastructure, the rail, the ability to receive raw materials via vessel. So it all came together."

Cliffs will lease the 100-acre plot from the Toledo/Lucas County Port Authority.

The Cliffs Toledo facility will receive iron ore mined in Minneapolis and Michigan and convert it to briquettes that are used in steel making. Cliffs will use trucks and trains to deliver those briquettes to steel mills.

"It's a new process in the steel making that makes us competitive," explained Pete Gerken, Lucas County commissioner. "We're at the front end of the recovery of the steel industry. Steel's coming back to Toledo. Rail's coming back to Toledo. Shipping's coming back to Toledo. Sites that were fallow for decades are coming back. It's really exciting."

Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson agrees:

This is a good day. We've already stepped up to the plate. This company wouldn't be making this type of investment in our community if they didn't see that we have all of the wherewithal and drive and partnerships to make this happen. It'll give us a second look and make us competitive with other companies. So it's not only for today, but for the future.

"I think it's fantastic," said Mark Zimmerman from Toledo. "We need another boost. So many things have fell through in the past and we need a little more incentive. We need something positive in this town. Give them the opportunity and a reason, and the people will be back."

The company plans to break ground in early 2018. The plant would be up and running by mid 2020.

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