What is Sulfide Mining?

Metallic sulfide mining (aka hard rock mining) is the practice of extracting metals such as nickel, gold and copper from a sulfide-rich ore body. Sulfides are a geologic byproduct of mining in this area, and by exposing sulfides to the air and water in our atmosphere, sulfuric acid can be created — threatening to poison the nearby water, environment, and communities.

 

Why is sulfide mining a concern?
• If sulfide ore or the tailings piles are exposed to water and air during mining, a chemical reaction can create sulfuric acid — basically battery acid.
• There has never been a sulfide mine that has not polluted nearby water resources.
• Acid Mine Drainage can form multi-colored sediments in the bottom of streams and can disrupt the growth and reproduction of fish or kill aquatic plants and animals.
• Pollution from sulfide mining can be very expensive to fix — especially for taxpayers.
•There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that has failed to pollute its watershed.
• The legacy of sulfide mining is acid mine drainage. It poisons water forever (2,500 – 10,000+ years). The industrial development required to mine it on State land, in Michigan’s wildest area, will destroy that wildness forever.

 

Why is sulfide mining is a bad deal for the U.P.?
• Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality isn’t properly regulating its sulfide mining laws — a key reason we’re calling for a corruption investigation of the agency.
• Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has 1,700 miles of shoreline along the Great Lakes.
• There are 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and 4,300 inland lakes in the U.P.
• It takes over 190 years for contaminants to cycle through Lake Superior!
• The Great Lakes contain 18% of the world’s freshwater, a globally precious resource.

 

But what about jobs?
• Mining is a boom and bust industry that only produces short-term economic stimulus. Over time, it destabilizes and hinders the growth of local economies.
• The mainstay of Upper Michigan’s Economy is tourism, and punching multiple heavily polluting mines into our pristine wilderness threatens the future of eco-tourism which brings 20 million in revenue to a city like Munising alone, 2 times more than the entire Eagle project promises.

 

What’s happening now with sulfide mining in the U.P.?
• Multinational mining corporations are presenting exploring for copper, nickel, uranium, and more.
• Rio Tinto was the first to apply for a permit to operate a sulfide mine in Michigan, 30 miles north of Marquette on the Yellow Dog Plains near Lake Superior. Rio Tinto sold the mine in 2013 to Lundin Mining Company.
• The Eagle Mine blasted under a trout stream and through a rock outcrop, Eagle Rock, sacred to indigenous tribal members.
• The Eagle Mine was granted permits from State agencies (currently under litigation) to begin mining in Michigan under Michigan’s weak and untested sulfide mining regulation.

 

More info on sulfide mining and the Eagle Mine located north of Marquette, Mich.