Mining has, for some time now, been considered by many a contentious issue, and a delicate balancing act between a means of providing desirable economic benefits and a process that potentially leads to avoidable long-lasting environmental concerns.
Precisely that situation, where opposing viewpoints and contrary opinions are voiced, played out at a recent public forum held by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ meeting was about a permit request made earlier this year by Eagle Mine, which has its nickel and copper operation in northern Michigamme Township and its processing unit at the Humboldt Mill in Humboldt Township.
Eagle Mine, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corp., wants to expand its operation by extracting a high-grade nickel and copper deposit known as Eagle East. The ore body is a bit deeper than the company’s current mining operation, and is situated about 1.5 miles eastward.
Eagle already began digging an access tunnel toward the new deposit, but now needs a permit amendment to allow it to finish the tunnel and begin mining.
The community meeting took place on Thursday at the Westwood High School auditorium, where a relatively small crowd was in attendance — a small crowd relative to the number of people mining in the Upper Peninsula has impacted over the past several years.
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