Eagle Mine today announced a Preliminary Economic Assessment on an area about a mile east of the location currently mined as a potential newly discovered deposit of nickel and copper ore estimated at 1.18 million metric tons. While a feasibility study won’t be completed until the end of the year, Lundin Mining will begin building an access ramp to the deposit in July of 2016.
Exploration of Eagle East began a year ago and was classified as an Inferred Mineral Resource. The ramp must be built now to benefit the business. Building a new tunnel to reach the mineral deposit will take three years. Eagle Mine also says they need the ramp to give them access to the mineral deposit to collect data. Lundin Mining anticipates the new mine will require changes to their mining permit and the air permit.
Eagle Mine states they will not need to build a new tailings facility, put more trucks on the road, change the trucking route or need more milling facilities to mine this new deposit, as they don’t anticipate this extended mining activity will have any environmental impact on the region. Many people living in the area have voiced complaints and concerns about the mining activity going on there, and the negative environmental impact mining and milling mineral ore has on the local watersheds. A year ago the MDEQ permitted Humboldt Mill to install two more outfalls for wastewater from the mill.
So what this all means is Eagle Mine will start constructing a new ramp to gain access to a potential mineral deposit a mile east of the current mine so they can collect data to support the changes they will want made to their permit with the MDEQ months before the feasibility study will determine if there’s enough minerals to make the new mine economically viable – and most importantly – determine what environmental impact this new mine will have. Eagle Mine is confident enough to get started now and invest $95 million into Eagle East.
If the feasibility report at the end of the year gives Eagle Mine the green light ( and no one at this point expects this report to say no), it means Lundin Mining will be in Marquette until the year 2023.