Cleveland-Cliffs recorded a second-quarter net income of $161 million, down slightly from a net income of $165 million in the same quarter in 2018, the iron ore mining and processing company reported Friday.

But company officials were quick to point out that it had also spent $18 million in the quarter to lessen its debt.

The company's second-quarter adjusted EBITDA — earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization — was $249 million, down from $276 million during the second quarter of 2018. EBITDA is considered a good measure of a company's current operational health.

Cliffs also reported that its second-quarter sales volumes reached a record 6.2 million long tons, up 4% from the year before.

Goncalves said that while U.S. steel prices were low, he expected them to climb. He noted Cliffs was boosted by global iron ore prices of $121 per ton.

“Welcome to the new normal,” Goncalves said of prices during a conference call with investors Friday. “Get used to the new normal.”

Goncalves also said the $100 million update to Northshore Mining’s processing facility plant in Silver Bay was completed and the facility is already producing direct-reduced iron, or DR-grade, pellets to feed its hot briquetted iron, or HBI, plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Goncalves said construction of the HBI plant is several months ahead of schedule and expects it to open in 2020.

Cliffs maintains its ability to supply electric mills with HBI produced in Toledo will ensure a healthy future of demand. Traditionally, the Minnesota taconite industry has supplied larger blast-furnace steel mills.

Cliffs owns Northshore Mining and United Taconite in Minnesota and Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan. The company is also phasing out its management role at Hibbing Taconite in Minnesota.