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Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF - Analyst Report) has entered into an agreement with the United Steelworkers Union for a new six-year labor contract. The contract will cover roughly 229 represented workers at Cliffs' Pointe Noire operation in Quebec.

The deal has been ratified by the United Steelworkers local union memberships. With the agreement is place, Cliffs will be able to achieve a competitive cost structure ensuring its success in the years ahead. The agreement is fair and equitable to both Cliffs and United Steelworkers.
Cliffs is an international mining and natural resources company, a major global iron ore producer and a significant producer of high- and low-volatile metallurgical coal.

Cliffs released its third-quarter 2013 results on Oct 24. The company posted earnings from continuing operations of 65 cents per share, up 6.6% from 61 cents in the year-ago quarter. Consolidated net income was $104.3 million (or 66 cents per share) versus a profit of $85.1 million (or 59 cents) registered in the year-ago quarter, up roughly 23% year over year. The company’s cost-cutting measures along with higher iron ore prices contributed to the increase in profit.

Sales for the quarter came in at $1,546.6 million, up 0.1% from $1,544.9 million in the prior-year quarter. A 17% hike in global seaborne iron ore pricing led to increased sales in the quarter.

Cliffs expects healthy pace of steelmaking in China to support demand for its iron ore across the Eastern Canada and Asia Pacific businesses. The company predicts healthy demand for the U.S. ore and North American coal despite weak steel production in North America. The company anticipates pricing of its commodities to remain volatile.

Cliffs currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other companies in the mining industry with favorable Zacks Rank are African Minerals Ltd. (AMLZF), Alderon Iron Ore Corp. (AXX - Snapshot Report) and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FQVLF). All of them carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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