DEQ details mine air quality hearing

MARQUETTE – Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials have released details on an upcoming air quality permit public hearing and comment period for Rio Tinto’s Eagle Mine project.

The mining company has made several changes on-site since its original air use permit application was approved in 2007. Some of the modifications listed by the DEQ included eliminating on-site ore crushing, adding an enclosed aggregate storage building and eliminating a fabric filter dust collector.

An informational session and public hearing have been scheduled for March 12 in the Huron Room of the University Center at Northern Michigan University. The information period will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. DEQ staff will be available to answer questions. The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m.

The Eagle Mine site north of the city of Marquette in Powell Township is seen in this recent aerial photo. (Rio Tinto photo)

“The sole purpose of the hearing will be to take formal testimony on the record,” the DEQ said in its hearing announcement. “During testimony, questions will not be answered; however, staff will be available to answer questions outside the hearing room.”

A written public comment period is in effect on the draft permit conditions, which is required by state and federal regulations.

Written comments received during the comment period will be considered in the final permit decision.

Mail comments by March 12 to: Mary Ann Dolehanty, Permit Section Supervisor, Michigan DEQ, Air Quality Division, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, MI, 48909-7760. Comments may also be submitted from the web page: (click on “Submit Comment” under the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine LLC, Permit to Install No. 50-06B listing).

After resolving any issues raised during the public comment period and the hearing, a final decision will be made by the DEQ on the permit application.

A DEQ fact sheet is available on the issue, the public comment announcement and other information is also available at:

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.