It’s been three years since Rio Tinto started construction on the Eagle Mineral Mine in Marquette County.
The project is just over half way completed, and that is as far as the Rio Tinto Mining company will be taking the venture. Over the next month the two companies will be finalizing the deal which is worth $325 million.
The Toronto-based company Lundin Mining reached an agreement to purchase the Eagle Mine Project from Rio Tinto just 24 hours ago and now both companies are looking to move forward.
“The regulatory process to approval the sale will take approximately six weeks. During that time, Rio Tinto continues to manage Eagle. After that, Lundin will take over day to day operations. The employees at Eagle here, who have been working on the project, will continue with it and we all just look forward to that production goal next fall,” explained Dan Blondeau, Communications and Media at Rio Tinto.
The decision to make the same sale stems from both the sheer size of the companies and the lifespan of the mine. Rio Tinto is the fourth largest publicly listed mining company in the world employing close to 80,000 people compared to Lundin’s workforce of 3,000.
Rio Tinto has typically entrenched themselves in mines with greater longevity and Lundin seemed to have the perfect size, scope and shared values for the job.
“It’s not about laying people off. It’s about hiring people. We look to build up on the team that’s there right now that we believe is a great asset to the project. [That way] we can begin a sufficient ramp up of construction activities and carry on with the ramp up of hiring people for operation,” noted Paul McRae, Senior Vice President of Projects at Lundin Mining.
According to Rio Tinto, when the project is up and running, about 150 additional workers will be needed allowing the workforce to jump from 70 to 220 employees. Lundin will also maintain the relationships and community funds Rio Tinto put in place and expects to ramp up production on the Eagle Mine project by 2014.