Published in the Mining Journal, November 12, 2014.
To the Journal editor:
So the Eagle Mine has set its eyes on 40 more acres of state land on the Yellow Dog Plains (Oct. 30 article by John Pepin), for geological exploration and supposedly not for a new mine.
This exploration is, as Eagle Mine spokesman Dan Blondeau explains, “part of our commitment to the community,” apparently to grow the mine. At best, this is an odd use of “commitment” and “community,” and at worst an exercise in Corporate Speak.
I have watched this mine develop over the last ten years as a watchful and dismayed observer. It was to be a small remote mine site, a limited, respectful cut into the earth with minimal impact on its wildland setting.
And then the mine portal got pounded into Eagle Rock, a site sacred to the Anishinaabe. The generator-only power system ended up on the grid, with cables laid to the mine site. The trucking of ore to a railhead north of Marquette was forgotten long ago. The “woodland” haul road along the Triple A has turned into a full-blown super highway that has re-engineered the landscape. Lundin Mining Corp., which took over Eagle Mine two years ago, seems to have an eraser for a memory when it comes to commitments.
Eagle Mine seems to be betting that all the “community” wants is economic development that benefits humans. But the Yellow Dog Plains is one of those storied places in our collective imagination. That place, and the larger community we live in, includes rivers, forests, wildlife, rocks and waterfalls, and quiet backwoods camps.
Surface drilling, as Lundin intends on this parcel of state land, may or may not lead to a new mine, but will have impacts right on the edge of the Yellow Dog River floodplain. If this were private land, we would have little say, but this is our land, public land, and the public should have a big say in what happens there.
What would our reaction be if a foreign mining corporation wanted to do exploratory drilling in Presque Isle Park? You would hear the uproar all the way to Big Bay.
We need a public hearing on this proposal. Too much is at stake.
Jon Saari, vice president, Save the Wild U.P
* For detailed information on the proposed mineral lease, see our press release.
SWUP has worked closely with Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve to ensure that citizens have an opportunity to voice their concerns, and protect the wild lands and pristine waters of the Yellow Dog Plains. We’ve created a petition calling on Michigan’s DNR to deny this new mineral lease.
Protect your public lands and clean water: sign the petition here.