VIRGINIA -- The head of Cliffs Natural Resources says he expects to resume production at United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes sometime this year.

Speaking to Iron Range business and community leaders Wednesday, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves aid the company plans to invest $65 million in the plant so it can produce a higher-grade of pellets.

He also says the company is negotiating a new contract for those pellets with steelmaker ArcelorMittal. He didn't give a specific timeline for the contract, or for United Taconite reopening. He just says it's "going well" and upgrading the mine will hinge on the contract.

United Taconite has been idle since August.

Cliffs last week announced it will reopen Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay in May.