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In 2012 Eagle Mine provided funding ($300,000 annually) to the Marquette County Community Foundation (MCCF) establishing an independent program to conduct environmental monitoring related to mining operations at the Eagle Mine in north Marquette County. Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) staff are coordinating and implementing the community environmental monitoring program (CEMP) working with universities, contractors and EPA approved laboratories. An agreement was signed by Eagle Mine and the SWP on September 10, 2012 (see photo below of MCCF, Eagle Mine and SWP at the agreement signing event) establishing the parameters of the CEMP.

The MCCF established an oversight board inviting representation from the environmental sector, the mining sector, the community at large, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). In addition, the CEMP program is designed to accept third party funding to expand community monitoring, if needed.

The SWP is monitoring at the Eagle Mine, the Humboldt Mill and along approved transportation routes (see map). Monitoring includes; air quality, groundwater, surface water, wildlife, plant life and more. The SWP shares all monitoring results with the public and invites community input, including suggestions for additional monitoring. A series of community forums have been and will continue to be held in Marquette, Big Bay, Humboldt Township and Michigamee. It is here that members of the public, community organizations, tribes and others are encouraged to provide recommendations for additional monitoring.

 

The CEMP was featured on NMU Public TV 13’s program Media Meet in August 2013.  View video here.

 

A Brief Chronology of SWP Activities Related to the Salmon Trout River Watershed:

Eagle Mine is the owner, developer, and future of the Eagle Mine. In 2002 exploration efforts led to the discovery of Eagle, a concentrated nickel and copper deposit located in Michigamme Township, about 25 miles northwest of the City of Marquette, Michigan.

Marquette County Community Foundation set up an oversight board comprised of a chair and a member of the general public, Anishnabe Nation, Minings sector, and Environmental sector. The goal of this board is to monitor program implementation and act in dispute resolutions.

The Superior Watershed Partnership is responsible for verifying environmental monitoring, independent air quality monitoring in Powell Township, and any other additional monitoring based on community feedback. Additionally it is also responsible for public outreach which includes data sharing and community updates.

2002
Rio Tinto discovers nickel & copper in the Salmon Trout River Watershed.
2006
Rio Tinto applies for mining permits.
2007
Rio Tinto is awarded mining permits.
2010
Rio Tinto begins mine surface construction.
2011
Rio Tinto begins underground construction and drilling.
2012
Rio Tinto begins mill construction.
2014
Lundin Mining Corp purchases Eagle Mine from Rio Tinto for $325 million.
2014
Eagle Mine begins production.
1999
SWP begins field inventory and monitoring work in the Salmon Trout River Watershed.
2001
SWP completes first watershed restoration project. Over the next decade the SWP will complete over 20 additional projects valued at over $2million.
2004
SWP participates on Governor Granholm's committee to draft new sulfide mining legislation. New mining law passed.
2006
SWP completes a comprehensive watershed management plan for the Salmon Trout which is approved by EPA. The plan includes the recommendation to "prohibit sulfide based mining".
2007
SWP submits successful nomination to the American Rivers organization in Washington D.C. TheSalmon Trout is ranked as one of the "Ten Most Endangered Rivers " in the country. More
2010
SWP is featured in the State of the Great Lakes report for restoration work contributing to a 70% increase in the Coaster Brook Trout population. More
2012
Community Environmental Monitoring agreement signed by Superior Watershed Partnership and Marquette County Community Foundation.
2013
SWP begins independent community monitoring of the Eagle Mine, Humboldt Mill and transportation routes. Public input invited.
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