Below is the introduction of the 700+ page review of Kennecott’s Mining Permit Application (MPA) by the National Wildlife Federation. The report addresses serious legal and technical deficiencies with the MPA. You may download the entire 702 page document as a PDF (It is a large file – 24.8 MB)
Comments in Opposition to Issuance of the Nonferrous Metallic Mining Permit Required by Part 632, NREPA Applied for by Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company, February 2006
Submitted to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on October 17, 2007 by National Wildlife Federation, Michelle Halley, Esq.
These comments address the Mining Permit Application (MPA) for a nonferrous metallic mine commonly called the ‘Eagle Project’ originally applied for by Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company (KEMC) in February of 2006, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) subsequent preliminary approval issued on July 30, 2007 and the Draft Permit MP 01 2007.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is a national conservation and education organization with over 4 million members. The Great Lakes and Lake Superior have been focal points of our work for over 25 years since they are globally important natural resources for wildlife and humans. This project poses dire threats to the Lake Superior watershed.
Our review of this MPA reveals some startling likelihoods should the mine be allowed to proceed as proposed:
- Wetlands drawdown of up to 12 feet near the mine site
- The Salmon Trout River’s flow reduced by 0.16 cfs near the mine site
- Crown pillar instability with an estimated average weighted RMR of 45 rated “unstable”
- Concentrations of sulfate, nickel, total dissolved solids, aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, and manganese exceeding relevant water quality standards in the underground mine
- Unanticipated inflow flooding the mine to the point that the WWTP could not handle the volume and the water’s poor quality
- Acid Mine Drainage many orders of magnitude higher than predicted
- Deposition of more than 430 tons of particulate matter deposited within 1.6 miles of the Site and more than 959 tons of particulate matter, including more than 7,000 lbs of copper and 7,130 lbs of nickel, deposited within 12.4 miles of the Site over the 8-year life of the mine
- TDRSA leaking highly acidic and metal-laden water into ground water and eventually, surface water
These likely and scientifically supported scenarios – none of them discussed or disproved by the MPA — demonstrate the low quality of KEMC’s MPA, that the MPA does not meet standards in Part 632 and other Michigan and federal laws, and that the MPA should be summarily denied.