Eagle Mine public tours

The Eagle Mine is in an isolated corner of Michigamme on Marquette County Road AAA.

Residents have asked over the years for greater access to the site.

Mine officials say they’ve listened with the offering of public tours.

“The mine is pretty remote from the general population, so about three years ago we started the tours,” Eagle Mine senior advisor for communications and media relations Dan Blondeau said. “We have, on average, about 400 people a year that come up and see the site.”

The tours leave from the Eagle Mine Information Center on Washington Street in Marquette.

They take a little more than four hours; more than half that time is spent driving to and from the mine property.

The tour bus circles the grounds for a view of the surface facilities, including the tunnel that will lead miners underground to the ore body. The bus stops at the mine’s $15 million water treatment plant.

“The biggest question that comes up on tour is always geared toward environmental, especially water protection, what our water treatment plant does and what we have here on site that’ll protect the environment,” Blondeau said.

The plant is staffed 24 hours a day, even though ore production won’t beginat the mine until late 2014.

The bus also stops at the administration building. This allows the tourists to fill out a scorecard of how well the mine is meeting the goals residents have for it, much like what recent community forums throughout the area have done.

There’s enough interest in the tours for Lundin Mining to consider hiring a dedicated tour guide to lead the tours next summer.

“The resources that it takes to get people up here and see the site is pretty intensive, so we are looking at maybe getting somebody to do it full-time, but it’s something that we definitely will continue to have,” Blondeau said.

There are still tours remaining for this season on the next few Fridays, September 13th, 20th and 27th, as well as October 4th.

The tours are from 1 p.m. to about 5 p.m. each day, and they’re free of charge.

Blondeau says each tour is already booked, but he also says it may be possible to get on each one on a standby basis.

For more information, you can visit the Information Center in Marquette or call the center at (906) 273-1550.