Cliffs Natural Resources Earnings Call Nuggets: Bloom Lake and Capital Structure Decision

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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLF) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Bloom Lake

Mitesh Thakkar – FBR: My first question is just on Bloom Lake. Can you help us understand what has changed between the last quarter and this quarter that you have to increase the guidance range. Just a follow-up on that. If you’re spending additional CapEx versus your previous guidance. Is that in some way going to help you bring Bloom Lake, up a little bit?

Joseph A. Carrabba – Chairman, President and CEO: Yes, Mitesh, from a cash costs increase from 60% to 70%. We are looking – for 2013 we are looking at 70% to 75% for Bloom Lake with $15 of additional items related to stripping, opening up the new pit and continued cost for tailings in managements to get us to the $85 range for $29. From a capital standpoint, we are looking at the preliminary numbers of 700 million to 800 million was early in our process. As you went through the detailed plan through the year end, we needed invest additional capital relating to tailings management and water management and that was driving the additional increase in capital.

Mitesh Thakkar – FBR: So, is it fair to say that you’ll need to spend another $400 million or so in 2014 to get the Phase II up and running? And can you also explain us a little bit on the schedule of that?

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