SILVER BAY, Minn. (AP) — Cleveland-Cliffs has spent more than $100 million to upgrade its giant plant in Silver Bay to produce a purer form of iron ore pellets and ensure the long-term viability of its Northshore Mining operation in northeastern Minnesota.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that Cliffs held a ribbon-cutting this week to celebrate its completion of the plant upgrades.

The company says the upgraded plant is the first U.S.-based iron ore processing facility producing the new kind of pellet. These purer pellets, in turn can be used to make “direct reduced iron,” which can be used in newer electric arc furnace steel mills that now make nearly 70% of all American steel.

That contrasts with traditional taconite pellets from Minnesota’s Iron Range, which feed older blast furnace steel mills around the Great Lakes.

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