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LANSING, MICHIGAN - The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, National Wildlife Federation and others concerned with environmental issues were met last Thursday with a legal setback as Circuit Court judge in Ingham County ruled that Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company may proceed with the development of the Eagle nickel copper mine.
Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company, owner and developer of the Eagle nickel copper mine, made the announcement of the court's decision that allows the company to move ahead with constructing the underground entryway to the mine. The decision was issued in response to a continuing challenge to the validity of permits approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in 2007 following an extensive public and regulatory review process. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality affirmed the permits in 2010.
"Kennecott appreciates the court's thoughtful consideration of the merits in this case," said Kennecott president Adam Burley. "While we are pleased that the ruling enables us to continue forward with productive progress and associated job creation, we remain sensitive to the concerns of others and will continue to seek opportunities for conversation. In particular, we remain committed to establishing a constructive relationship with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, aimed at strengthening our understanding of the tribe's interests and working to resolve issues that benefit all."
Kennecott has expressed its ongoing commitment to protecting a rock outcrop on the mine site from construction and mine activities, and to ensuring that tribal members have safe access to the rock.
The mine's underground entryway is designed, and was approved by state regulators, for the safety of the environment and workers. Kennecott engineers moved the mine entry in response to requests expressed by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, for protecting the rock feature.
Kennecott began building the mine in April 2010. Above ground facilities for serving the mine, including an extensive environmental protection system, are largely complete. The next step in the construction process involves building an underground tunnel to access the mineral deposit. The mine is expected to begin production of nickel and copper in 2013.
posted September 19, 2011 6:30 am edt
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