Protecting and Sustaining our Environment
We work every day to prevent, or otherwise minimize, the potential impacts of our operations on the environment. At Eagle Mine, we maintain the highest standard of environmental performance through a number of programs we have developed and implemented focusing on air quality, eco system services, biodiversity, energy, land, water, waste, and closure. The Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) is an independent program run by community organizations that monitors our environmental performance.
Reducing and monitoring emissions are a top priority at Eagle Mine. We look for ways to continuously improve our performance when it comes to air quality and by doing so we minimize our potential impact on the Upper Peninsula. We conduct regular monitoring of air quality and regulated emissions at both the mine and mill and have programs in place to maintain these emissions well below permitted limits.
- On an annual basis, particulate emissions from Eagle’s ventilation system are equal to that of fifteen home wood burners. That’s lower than most local subdivisions.
- Our projected particulate emissions at Eagle are equal to only 0.1% of the current total in Marquette County.
- Eagle is projected to emit far fewer particulate emissions than other typical industrial sources in the area.
At Eagle, we use water at every stage of our business: for exploration, construction, mining, milling, and reclamation. We focus on ways to minimize the amount of water we remove from the environment, reuse it whenever possible and return it to the environment in a state that meets regulatory standards. At both the mine and mill, we use a state of the art, multi-phase water treatment plant to purify water from operations. Once purified, water is recycled back into the mining and milling process or returned to the environment via an infiltration system. With advanced water treatment processes and strict monitoring programs in place we are confident that our potential impact on the environment will be minimized.
Responsible mining goes beyond safe extraction of nickel and copper, but it is managing the tailings that are left after removing the valuable parts of the ore. At the Humboldt Mill, the tailings are sent to the Humboldt Tailings Disposal Facility (HTDF). The HTDF is the original open pit iron ore mine that filled with water overtime and has housed the tailings from Ropes Gold Mine for over 20 years. The pit is approximately 400 feet deep and contains 200 feet of tailings from Ropes. Eagle will place roughly 75 feet of tailings into the pit, leaving around 120 feet of water between the tails and the surface. This subaqueous disposal of tailings is considered best practice for storing sulfide bearing tailings.
Reclaiming the natural state
When mining operations are completed, we will see restoration efforts are implemented quickly and efficiently. In order to preserve the environment, it’s our goal to see that any land that has been disrupted during the mining process is returned to a natural state. Upon completion of mining operations all excess rock will be returned underground as backfill and all other infrastructure including concrete, buildings, power lines, etc. will be removed. Community input is important to consider prior to our reclamation activities. Post-closure environmental monitoring will last approximately 20 years and mine closure monitoring will last between 4-5 years. Our mine closure plan is developed and is updated at least every 5 years. For complete details, go to ‘Media’ to view a series of annual mining reports.
Regulation for modern mining
Mine and mill sites are regulated by Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), which makes semi-annual inspections. Environmental regulation of Eagle Mine’s operations is conducted by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
Community Environmental Monitoring Program
The mining industry isn’t always thought of as being upfront when it comes to reporting on environmental impacts. At Eagle Mine we aim to change that perception by participating in a progressive approach to transparency called the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP). At the heart of the CEMP are two well-known and trusted community organizations, Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) and the Community Foundation of Marquette County (CFMC). SWP monitors Eagle’s environmental performance and reports back to the community while CFMC ensures that the programs funding is at arm’s length. Eagle Mine funds the independent monitoring program in the amount of $300,000 per year. With this model, we’re confident the U.P. is setting a new benchmark for community oversight of modern mining. Learn moreLearn More