Mine to inject $4 billion locally [Michigan Upper Peninsula] – by John Pepin (The Mining Journal – December 1, 2013)


HUMBOLDT – A recent in-house economic report projects the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill will directly and indirectly inject a total of $4 billion into the Marquette County economy over a 15-year period.

From 2011 through 2025, the Eagle Mine project -which includes the underground nickel and copper mine in Michigamme Township and the Humboldt Mill processing center in Humboldt Township- is expected to have a total positive economic impact of $4.3 billion on Michigan.

In addition to the $4 billion projected to impact Marquette County, $10 million will benefit Baraga County, $179 million for the rest of the Upper Peninsula and $169 million for the Lower Peninsula. “Marquette County’s economy is expected to be nearly 20 percent greater by 2016 when Eagle Mine’s economic contribution peaks than it otherwise would have been without Eagle Mine,” the report stated.

In addition to the economic forecasting, the “Eagle Mine: Economic Impact Assessment” report -which was produced by former project owner Rio Tinto and released Oct. 17 by new owner, the Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corp.- also provides information on employment, purchase of goods and services, government revenue and risks.

“Community members asked us to report on our economic impact to the region,” said Lundin spokesman Dan Blondeau. “The assessment, which was written under the guidance of three Michigan Tech professors, demonstrates how Eagle strengthens the local economy.”

Those professors, who composed a steering committee, included economics professor Mark Roberts, associate economics professor Paul Nelson and Gary Campbell, a professor of natural resource economics.

The employment figures in the report were increased since the report was first created. The projected economic impact modeling used an average of 250 employees during construction and operation.

Lundin officials said the model does not reflect the new estimate of more than 500 total Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill employees and contractors during construction and more than 330 workers and contractors during operations.

Blondeau said the revised figures makes the Eagle Mine project the 10th largest employer in Marquette County.

The analysis stated that on average, over the 15-year time frame, Marquette County is expected to benefit from 1,500 additional jobs each year. This is includes full-time and part-time employment and represents new jobs, including on-site employment, indirect employment of spin-off jobs in the area and induced employment, which might not exist without the mining project.

In addition to that projected job increase average for Marquette County, an additional 150 jobs are expected for the rest of the U.P. and 115 for the Lower Peninsula.

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