Mine approved for two permits


After months of debate, the Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company recently cleared another major hurdle on the road to the creation of a nickel and copper mine. On Thursday, Feb. 7, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved Kennecott’s surface-use lease and mining and reclamation plan. “We’re certainly disappointed that the DNR decided to go ahead and grant exclusivities to a private company without, in my view, really having demonstrated a public benefit,” said John Rebers, the faculty adviser to Northern’s Students Against Sulfide Mining. The DNR decision came two months after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved three separate Kennecott permits. Kennecott is on track for a May groundbreaking on the mine, which would be located in the nearby Yellow Dog Plains, but Rebers said there is still another obstacle that Kennecott must pass. The company must obtain a permit for well-water injection from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “To be honest, I’m not real optimistic that is going to be able to block the mine, but I hope the EPA will take a careful look at things,” Rebers said. “In terms of holding out a lot of hope under the Bush administration for taking positive action to protect the environment, I’m not real hopeful.”