INTERVIEW: ‘I believe AK Steel is a diamond in the rough’ - Lourenco Goncalves

Battle tested, hard-nosed, and, at times, known to be very blunt, the top executive of the largest and oldest independent iron ore mining company in the US has been called many things in an almost 40-year career spent from one end of the steel supply chain to the other. Fearful is not one of them.

Although that remains the case, Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland-Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive, admits to harboring growing concerns earlier this year over the spread of Covid-19 and the ramifications of the global pandemic not only on Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.’s traditional iron ore operations, but also on the pending startup of a $1-billion, 1.9-million tonne-per-year hot briquetted iron (HBI) plant in Toledo, Ohio and future plans and progress of Cliffs’ acquisition of Westchester, Ohio-based AK Steel.

The all-stock transaction, completed on March 13, 2020, implied a total enterprise value of approximately $3.0 billion for AK Steel and immediately transformed Cliffs into one of the largest vertically integrated producers of value-added iron ore and steel products in North America. “I believe AK Steel is a diamond in the rough,” the chairman, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs commented on the acquisition. “And we will execute. Of course, this pandemic was not in...


Jo Isenberg-O’Loughlin

June 08, 2020

10:31 GMT

New York