Cliffs Natural Resources confirmed last week it intended to close Wabush Mines, but the minister of natural resources says the provincial government remains hopeful for the future of the site.

Wabush Mines was idled in February, and despite talks of a possible sale, Cliffs officially announced on Friday it would be closing the mine.

Minister Derrick Dalley said despite the closure, there is still hope.

MFC Industrial, the company that leased the land beneath Wabush Mines, may have plans to run an operation in the future.

"We know that MFC [Industrial] has been interested in the opening of the mine," said Dalley.

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Derrick Dalley says there still reason for optimism regarding the future of the Wabush Mines site. (CBC)

"By all accounts, both to us as government and I certainly think to the mayor, as well as the head of the union, that they still have some interest in operating the mines."

For now, Cliffs will be reducing the 50 remaining employees down to 10, to move ahead with closing down the operation.

The province will be ensuring the company follows a closure and rehabilitation plan that follows provincial legislation.

"It involves a number of initiatives, I guess, that will be required, including dealing with the open pits, dealing with the safety around the site, dealing with re-vegetation — removal of buildings and equipment and related infrastructure," said Dalley.

The province will talk about pension and severance packages with Cliffs and the union next week.

Dalley said the province will meet with MFC Industrial this week to discuss the possibility of future operations at Wabush Mines.