SILVER BAY, Minn. (AP) — Cliffs Natural Resources says it will temporarily shut down a second plant, Northshore Mining, in northeastern Minnesota.

The company said Tuesday about 540 workers at the mine in Babbitt and plant in Silver Bay will be off the job by Dec. 1 through the first quarter of 2016. Cliffs says its pellet inventory at both Northshore and United Taconite is adequate to meet current customer demand. So, United Taconite will continue to be idle through the first quarter.

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Cliffs says it will continue to operate Hibbing Taconite in Minnesota, as well as the Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan, at normal levels.

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The slump in the steel industry is hitting hard on the Iron Range. Keewatin Taconite has also been shut down this year, as have Mesabi Nugget near Hoyt Lakes and Mining Resources in Chisholm.

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