• Wabush iron-ore assets are under restructuring proceedings
  • ERP Compliant Fuels run by climate change activist Tom Clarke

ERP Compliant Fuels, the environmentalist-backed mining company that has purchased distressed U.S. coal mines, is pursuing the acquisition of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s Wabush iron-ore assets, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Details of the prospective transaction weren’t disclosed. The people asked not to be identified as the process is private and no binding arrangement has been reached.

Cliffs idled the Wabush Scully mine in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador in March 2014. In May, it added Wabush to court-supervised restructuring proceedings already under way with the company’s other eastern Canadian iron assets. In 2013, the mine produced 2.8 million metric tons compared with its 5.6 million-ton capacity, according to Cliffs filings. Wabush assets include a mine, processing equipment and a railroad, the filings show.

ERP Compliant Fuels, a subsidiary of the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, has purchased coal mines previously operated by Patriot Coal Corp. and Walter Energy Inc. through bankruptcy proceedings. ERP is also interested in U.S. Steel Canada Inc., the former unit of U.S. Steel Corp. under creditor protection since 2014, people with knowledge of the matter said last month.

ERP is run by Tom Clarke, a Virginia hospital executive and climate change activist. A representative for ERP declined to comment on the Wabush bid.

Pat Persico, a spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Cliffs, didn’t immediately
respond to a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment.

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