Judge Manderfield affirmed the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to issue a permit for the Eagle sulfide mining project in the Upper Peninsula. Prior to this decision, Rio Tinto started blasting and drilling a portal beneath sacred Migi zii wa sin (Eagle Rock) in September. They continue to dig deeper with an average of 12 feet per day and corporate plans to begin mine production in 2013.
This decision is dissappointing news to Native Americans and environmental groups who have legal, environmental and spiritual concerns regarding the project and they will be considering an option to seek an appeal at the Michigan Court of Appeals.
The broader picture for this project includes an unapproved haul road (proposed by the Marquette County Road Commissioners as CR595) through watersheds of Lake Superior and numerous undeveloped wetlands to transport sulfide-bearing ore at Eagle to the Humboldt Mill. The Humboldt Mill is currently undergoing federal EPA Superfund investigation for ongoing contamination leaking off-site from previous deposition of sulfide-bearing tailings at the site. Rio Tinto is also continuing to vigorously explore additional ore bodies within other directions of Eagle Rock and throughout the western Upper Peninsula.
Stand for the Land Eagle Rock Camp Summer 2010 prior to the arrests of two Keweenaw Bay Indian Community members:
Portal Construction underway by Rio Tinto at Eagle Rock September 2011: