MICHIGAN – Rio Tinto of London, UK, has announced plans to develop a new nickel-copper mine in the United States, the Kennecott Eagle mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The company will spend US$469 million to develop an underground mine, rehabilitate the existing Humboldt mill, and build roads and surface facilities. It will be the only primary nickel producer in the United States.
The Eagle mine will produce separate nickel and copper concentrates containing 17,300 of nickel metal and 13,200 tonnes of copper metal per year. Seven hundred jobs will be created when the mine begins production in late 2013. At the end of 2008, the project had reserves of 3.6 million tonnes grading 3.47% nickel and 2.93% Cu.
Rio’s Eagle mine is the first new mine to be permitted under Michigan’s 2004 nonferrous metallic mine law, containing some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world.