Local citizens skeptical of Rio Tinto Eagle Mine “Community Forums”

As Rio Tinto continues another round of community forums, local citizens voiced their skepticism surrounding Marquette’s Rio Tinto Eagle Mine Community Forum Tuesday.

“Rio Tinto portrays this data as scientific — but that could not be farther from the truth,” said Kathleen Heideman, vice president of Save the Wild U.P. “Their ‘data’ from the last round polled less than 300 people– hardly representative of the 76,502 residents of Marquette and Baraga counties. It’s a global mining corporation’s idea of democracy: first they show slides about how great they are — then we should click to indicate our agreement. That’s meaningless. It’s not voting.”

“I am surprised to see the addition of 30 miles of power lines referred to as ‘more wood on the woodpile,’” said Margaret Comfort, president of Save the Wild U.P. “Rio Tinto manipulated the public process by saying they needed 30 miles of power lines for mining exploration and then sought a small modification to their Eagle permit to bring the lines to the mine site. It might be illegal, and it’s definitely unethical. They should have had their Eagle Mine permit modified, which would have included public scrutiny to discover if the public approved of this action.”

“Rio Tinto touted 75 visitors to Eagle Rock as demonstration of their willingness to work with Native Nations. But we know full well that Rio Tinto placed the mine portal into Eagle Rock for one reason and one reason only: They knew that this would draw the attention away from what all Upper Peninsula residents value — water,” said KBIC tribal member and former federal oil regulator Jeffery Loman. “That worked yesterday but from this day forward we will, as guided by our Great Spirits, bring the attention squarely back to the protection of our waters and everything that depends on water.”

“Rio Tinto representatives announced the life of the mine has been extended to 8 years by discovering a 20 per cent increase in ore, but that’s no career for the people working in the area. The U.P. needs and deserves stable jobs to support families and send kids to college, not layoffs and short-term work,” said Alexandra Thebert, executive director of Save the Wild U.P. In early April, Eagle Mine announced the layoffs of 11 employees and downsized contractors by 20 per cent citing “economic headwinds.”


6 thoughts on “Local citizens skeptical of Rio Tinto Eagle Mine “Community Forums”

  1. Ali: Didja know that Rio Tinto plans to leave another 8,000,000 tonnes of good ore in the ground – enough to feed the mill, and the people, for another 16 years – total 24 years?

    See the reserves listed in the 2006 application for permits.

    The general idea is to maximize cash profits for Rio. That’s their stated game plan.

    Cousin Jack

  2. The city of Marquette is still scrambling for a solution to the haul traffic expected to be added to local roads when Rio Tinto begins extracting ore in 2014. Whether they use a bypass or existing transportation route, the roads are expected to be beat to hell, leaving us with an expensive problem. One has to wonder if all the trouble Rio Tinto has brought to this community is worth the revenue.

  3. Rio Tinto has taken over and polluted so many communities all over the world, they just have so much experience and know how to do it with their $$$$$$. They do it bit by bit, little by little and before the people know it they are having poisoned water and air and a mess to live in. That’s when Rio Tinto moves out with the $$$$ to another place. Best way is not to let them in with their false advertising. The bibs on the sled doggers is one thing that really gets to me. It is now Rio Tinto’s race not Marquette 220.

  4. Rio Tinto’s meetings are all psychological manipulation. Bring in pretty girl speaker -just the right age- in casual jeans with sweet face, who acts all sincere, acts concerned, appeal to community’s emotions and cover over the facts. We know she practices this talk with coaches. It’s much like TV advertising: Media knows visual is much stronger than data. Slow, lovely depictions of happy humans as then ultra-speedy data is in the background. Disgusting.
    And, Kathleen, you’re right: coming around land-owners and asking to check the land for minerals is just PR. It was confirmed that all of this can be judged with the right instruments in a fly over.

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