Public comment sought on Eagle Mine mineral rights lease proposal

MARQUETTE — A U.P. environmental group wants to remind people there are about 16 days left to comment on a proposal that would allow the Eagle Mine to lease additional mineral rights along the Yellow Dog River.

Save the Wild U.P. is concerned about the future of the waters of the Yellow Dog River. Wildlife along the river could be affected by further mineral exploration.

Mining companies are looking for minerals in the area from Big Bay to northern Baraga County. The proposal could lead to an expansion of the Eagle Mine.

Save the Wild U.P. says the Yellow Dog River deserves protection.

“Right now we are calling for the public to get more engaged in this issue,” Save The Wild U.P. president Kathleen Heideman said. “We are raising awareness by trying to get out the word about the water quality concerns. The adjacent nature of this parcel close to the river. We want people to understand this is not some throwaway parcel of land. This is a critical piece of land that’s owned by the state of Michigan taxpayers, 100 feet from the Yellow Dog River. It seems like a terrible place to put any sulfide mining exploration and exploration leads to mining activities on the Yellow Dog Plains.” According to Heideman, the Lundin Mining Company “endgame is to find more ore bodies.”

The group says mining activity on the 40 acres in question poses a direct threat to the river, including land disturbance, drilling contamination, groundwater impairment and surface water pollution.

“So it was released on October 20th — that means the public has 30 days, from October 20th to November 20th — to make their comments known about this minerals lease application,” SWUP outreach coordinator Alexandra Maxwell said. “People should care because we deserve better. We deserve sustainable industry in this region. That’s why I think people should care. It’s better for their children and their grandchildren and their great–grandchildren. It’s a quality of life issue. We deserve clean water; we deserve clean air.”

ABC 10 has attempted to contact Lundin Mining about the issue, but we have not heard from the company so far.

The public can express comments on the proposal that allows the state to lease new mineral rights to Lundin. Email comments to Karen Maidlow of the Michigan DNR at .

Save The Wild U.P. hopes those with comments will copy the group in the email to the DNR; their email address is .