Monday, January 24, 2011

Headwaters News: Mining road plan must have public priorities, not Rio Tinto profits, in mind

By Gabriel Caplett

MARQUETTE -- Claiming they will drive through the city of Marquette to haul nickel ore, Rio Tinto should stick with original rail plan instead of endangering the public and Upper Peninsula’s outdoors heritage.

Last week Rio Tinto announced plans to drop its pursuit of the 22-mile 595/Woodland Road to haul ore from its Eagle Mine to the Humboldt Mill, in Marquette County.

The company’s project director, Andrew Ware, claimed Rio Tinto will now "move forward with the originally designated route" and drive through the city streets of Marquette.

Problem is, Rio Tinto doesn’t really have an approved route to do so.

The approved, and originally designated route, allows Rio Tinto to haul ore on public roads to a rail line just northwest of the city of Marquette. From there the company can use an existing rail system to haul ore to Sudbury, Ontario, or amend its plan and build a short spur to transport it to the nearby Humboldt Mill.

Or it can access the existing Cliffs-owned LS and I rail line from points far west of Marquette, or extend the line -- as it has been in the past to haul ore and timber -- to the mine site on the Yellow Dog Plains. A project like this would benefit both Rio Tinto and Cliffs’ logging plans and create a ton of jobs, reducing diesel emissions and construction material use far more than building and driving on a 22-mile road through rough country ever would.... Click here to read the rest of this article on
Headwaters News.

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