EVELETH, Minn. (AP) —United Taconite has resumed producing pellets on northeastern Minnesota's Iron Range.

Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources earlier announced it would restart operations in August at its United Taconite mining facilities, two months earlier than previously announced. WDIO-TV reports production resumed last week.

The mine in Eveleth and the processing plant in nearby Forbes were idled in August 2015 amid a global steel industry slump blamed on Chinese dumping of cheap subsidized steel. Nearly 500 people at United Taconite were laid off for nearly a year. Cliffs announced the early restart after reaching a contract with U.S. Steel Canada to supply the majority of its iron ore pellet requirements for the second half of this year. That follows a 10-year supply agreement with another major steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.


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