Eagle Mine Facts

The Eagle Mine, 30 miles north of Marquette, was the first sulfide mine to be permitted in Michigan. The orebody is located underneath the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, Eagle Mine’s facility is adjacent to the Yellow Dog River watershed, and only 10 miles uphill from Lake Superior.

The Eagle Mine is hazardous and risky from economic, environmental, and safety perspectives:

  • The Eagle Mine threatens fish populations and recreational fishing, including the unique coaster brook trout.
  • The Eagle Mine was illegally and fraudulently permitted by the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the agency charged by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the mine.
  • Highly-respected independent mine engineer Jack Parker hired by then-owner Rio Tinto analyzed the mine structure and concluded the Eagle Mine was likely to collapse.
  • The regulatory authority – the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – has no meaningful conflict of interest laws, allowing regulators to take jobs with the mine, and vice versa.
  • The mine isn’t a union shop, and has less than 80 employees. Mining jobs are vulnerable to the highs and lows of market fluctuations, including layoffs.
  • With the discovery of uranium in the TRDSA facility at Eagle Mine, safety hazards are increased for workers and anyone living along transportation routes.
  • The Eagle Mine has used the Marquette County Road Commission to secure a for new 55 mph paved haul road from Eagle Mine to County Road 550, and they are further lobbying for the construction of a bypass around the City of Marquette, and pushing behind the scenes for County Road 595 — a proposal already defeated twice. The Marquette County Road Commission is now suing the EPA over their failed effort to build CR-595, a shortcut haul road between Eagle Mine and Eagle’s Humboldt Mill.
  • No environmental impact statement was prepared for impacts outside the mine, despite the City of Marquette petitioning the MDEQ for Eagle Mine’s transportation route to be included.
  • After including an air filtration system in its original permit, Eagle sought to have it removed in 2013, which the MDEQ approved, blowing a plume of unfiltered mine emissions out over the Salmon Trout River and the Yellow Dog Plains. No stack monitoring is taking place, and the emissions have not been measured since September 2014, before the mine was in full operation.
  • The Eagle Mine lacks a NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit, which should have been required by EPA when the TWIS was redesigned and EPA was informed by Rio Tinto that they would not be discharging fluids below the surface of the ground. We filed a Notice to Sue the EPA for their failure to require a NPDES Permit in June, 2013.
  • No comprehensive groundwater study was conducted of the surrounding area, neglecting the impacts to multiple headwaters feeding Lake Superior.
  • Eagle Mine was needlessly drilled beneath land sacred to the Anishinaabe.
  • Elevated heavy metals are already detected in Eagle Mine’s water monitoring wells.
  • Unmonitored and unregulated mining exploration activities continue across the U.P. — especially on the Yellow Dog Plains.
  • Eminent domain was used by the Marquette County Road Commission to build a paved haul route between Eagle Mine and the Big Bay Road — this project was called a County Road though it clearly serves Eagle Mine, construction costs were paid by Lundin Mining, and the pavement ends at the mine’s gate.
  • Eagle Mine is a sulfide mine, which threatens to leach sulfuric acid into fresh waterways— including the Yellow Dog River, Salmon Trout River, and Lake Superior!

Don’t let this type of mining change our Michigan lifestyle. Great Lakes water quality and Michigan’s wild lands are our legacy and our responsibility. Work with the UPEC Mining Action Group to oppose Sulfide Mining, and stay vigilant!

Get Involved!

Call the Mining Action Group at (906) 662-0037, or email us for more information on volunteering. No matter your time or talent, we look forward to working with you!


4 thoughts on “Eagle Mine Facts

  1. I am from Minnesota, but love Lake Superior and Michigan’s upper peninsula as well as Isle Royale national park, located in Michigan. I am very concerned about sulfide mining proposals in the regions of Lake Superior watershed. This type of mining would be detrimental to jobs we already have which depend on pristine waters, forests, and fisheries and the wildlife that inhabit our area.

  2. I recently visited an old favorite location of mine, which required a drive west on the AAA Rd. from the 550. I was pre-warned but had to go see for myself. I was shocked to say the least. I truely hope that your organization is successful as a watchdog for this operation. Thanks for anything your organization does to protect one of the old remote areas of Marquette County.

  3. Sadly, a “watch dog” is NOT enough. We Need PREVENTION! We must prevent these mines from opening/operating. Once they do, there’s no turning back. We cannot prevent the flow of water onto, over, or through the planet. Once their toxicity starts there’s no way to stop it. Somehow we MUST push through a change of Michigan law. We need the same, safe, sane “Prove It First” law that Wisconsin has enjoyed until now. WI Sen Tom Tiffany, admittedly with Aquila Resources, the Canadian firm now actively seeking permits for a sulfide mine 50 yards from the Menominee River, is very quickly & actively working to repeal that WI law. This must stop.

  4. I think if there was other jobs open up in the u p.the people will support stopping mines, like Ontonagon co,there is no work for any of the young people,other than mines.

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