Cleveland-Cliffs Company History Timeline

(383 Jobs)

Soon afterwards, the first Soo Locks opened in 1855, allowing iron ore to be shipped from Lake Superior to Lake Erie.


Organized in 1864 by Samuel Tilden, the Iron Cliffs Company held broad mining interests but suffered from an aging and disinterested management.


Cleveland Iron Mining in 1877 became one of the first firms to use these types of equipment to locate ore bodies.


Mather, who had started his career with Cleveland Iron Mining as a clerk in 1878, served as president for 42 years.


One key merger in 1890, with Jeptha Wade's Cliffs Iron Company led the combined firm to change its name to the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.


In 1891, the company merged with the Iron Cliffs Mining Company to form the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.

1891: The company merges with Iron Cliffs Mining Company to form the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company.


In 1892, the firm built the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad to carry iron ore from the mines directly to company-owned docks on Lake Superior.


The company established its first joint venture of this type in 1903 when it leased the Negaunee Mine to a company it co-owned with Bethlehem Steel Corporation.


The 618-foot-long (188 m) William G. Mather, launched in 1925, is a surviving example of this ship type.


1929: Plans to form a top-ranking steel company through the union of several competitors fail during the onset of the Great Depression.


In 1933, local banker Edward B. Greene, an in-law of the Wade family, replaced Mather as president, who assumed the position of chairman.

In 1933, Edward Greene (the son-in-law of Jeptha Homer Wade II) replaced William G. Mather as the head of the company.


Greene reduced Cleveland-Cliff's debt through sale of some timberlands and steel stocks and the 1935 divestment of Corrigan-McKinney to Republic Steel.


The financial reorganization brought about the 1947 reunion of Cleveland-Cliffs and the practically purposeless Cliffs Corporation.


Mather retired in 1952 and was replaced by Greene.


That apprehension came to fruition in 1970, when Cyclops Corporation, a steel company, bought 19 percent of Detroit Steel.

1970: Cleveland-Cliffs purchases a majority interest in Detroit Steel in order to regain nearly one-third of its own stock.

In 1970, a high-grade iron-ore mine was opened at Pannawonica in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with a 200-kilometre (120 mi) rail line to processing facilities at Cape Lambert for which the residential township of Wickham was built.


A company history published in 1974 called this low point "William G. Mather's finest hour." It was at this desperate time that he established Cleveland-Cliffs' policy of sacrificing all but domestic iron ore reserves to keep the mining concern alive.

In 1974 the Tilden Mine opened in Ishpeming.


Cleveland-Cliffs shrank its operations, closing the Mather B Mine and the Pioneer Pellet Plant and associated Ore Improvement Plant in 1979.


A pellet plant was built but ceased operation before 1980, following a sharp increase in the cost of diesel fuel.


In 1982, Cleveland-Cliffs experienced its first loss since the Great Depression.

However, notwithstanding these inherent problems, analysts--and significantly, some Cleveland-Cliffs shareholders--blamed the company's difficulties on its oil and gas operations, which experienced an 85 percent plummet in earnings in 1982.

1982: The company records its first loss since the Great Depression.


Over half of the Marquette Iron Range employees were laid off and, in 1984, Cliffs withdrew from the Great Lakes shipping industry.


A second loss in 1986 brought the company perilously close to bankruptcy.


By the end of 1987, Cleveland-Cliffs had $126 million in past due loans.

Moore tried his plan and floated four million shares in the fall of 1987.


According to a January 1988 Forbes article, Bolger proposed to "raise $144 million in new bank debt, toss in $221 million cash from the company treasury and the sale of a Michigan power plant, call in $53 million in preferred [stock] and make a hefty $168 million cash distribution to shareholders."


The company netted $42.8 million on sales of $344.8 million that year, their highest levels for both figures since 1990.


In recognition of this dreadful performance, Fortune indicated in 1991 that some Wall Street pundits dubbed the company's acquisition plan "de-worse-ification."


In 1992, two of Cliffs' major customers--Sharon Steel, which contributed 11 percent of annual operating revenues, and McLouth Steel Products, which chipped in an estimated 25 percent--encountered significant financial difficulties.


In the fall of 1994, Cliffs bolstered its top-ranking position with the acquisition of Cypress Amax Minerals Company's iron ore mine and power plant--Northshore Mining Company--in Minnesota for $66 million.

1994: Northshore Mining Company is acquired.


In 1995, the company launched a $6.1 million expansion project at Northshore Mining.


The firm was reminded of just how cyclical the industry can be however, as ore prices fell and imports increased in 1999.


Nearly one-third of Cleveland-Cliffs' customers had declared bankruptcy by 2001, including its largest customer, LTV Steel Mining Company.

2001: The firm adds LTV Steel Mining Company's assets to its arsenal.


In 2002, LTV Steel, a partner in the Empire Mine managed by CCI, closed and the Empire was idled for six months.

During this time period, the company began bolstering its interests in taconite facilities. It increased its ownership in the Hibbing Taconite Company as well as the Tilden Mine and the Wabush Mine in 2002.


In 2003 Cleveland-Cliffs, in a joint venture with Laiwu Steel Group of China, purchased the assets of bankrupt Eveleth Mines LLC and formed United Taconite.


Chairman and CEO John Brinzo commented on the company's future in a February 2004 American Metal Market article, claiming that "with solid steel demand and improved pricing, most integrated steel producers are operating their mills at high utilization rates.


In June 2007, Cleveland-Cliffs purchased its first domestic coal property.


In line with its venture into coal, the company changed its name from Cleveland-Cliffs to Cliffs Natural Resources in October 2008.


Its ranking of 477 was based on the company's performance in 2010.


On May 5, 2011, Cliffs Natural Resources was added to the Fortune 500 list of companies.


The firm's CEO Joseph Carrabba announced in July 2013 that he would retire by December 31 of that year.


2014 marked a significant shift in Cliffs' executive leadership and business strategy.

Shareholders elected six new directors during its 2014 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, who appointed former Metals USA executive Lourenco Goncalves as chairman, president and CEO of Cliffs.


Cliffs’ stock exhibited the second highest gain of 432 percent among the more than 3,000 companies listed on the NYSE. Cliffs was the best performing stock among all Metals and Mining companies in 2016.

Cliffs announced plans in early 2016 to close one of its five United States iron ore mines, the Empire Mine near Marquette, Michigan.


The company announced on August 15, 2017, it was dropping the Cliffs Natural Resources name and returning to its old brand name, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.

Cliffs celebrated our 170th year as a company in 2017.

Cleveland-Cliffs celebrated its 170th year as a company in 2017.


The acquisition was completed in March 2020.

On March 13, 2020, the company acquired AK Steel Holding.

Company Founded
Cleveland, OH
Company Headquarter
Samuel Mather
Company Founders

Cleveland-Cliffs Jobs Nearby

Cleveland-Cliffs Jobs

Cleveland-Cliffs Similar Companies

Find Jobs from Similar Companies
Personalize your job search. Where would you like to work?
0 selections

Cleveland-Cliffs Similar Companies Jobs