Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Marquette officials discuss Kennecott haul road options

MARQUETTE -- Two recent meetings of Marquette city and county officials included discussion of Rio Tinto-Kennecott's plans to haul ore from their Eagle Mine to the Humboldt mill west of Ishpeming. While the original haul route in the company's mining permit application included a railhead north of Marquette, their recent options seem to be either hauling the ore through local roads or through the woods on the proposed County Road 595 -- a route similar to that of the former Woodland Road proposal, which was opposed by three federal agencies because of potential impacts to the environment. The company reportedly rejected the County Road 595 idea earlier this month.*

On Thursday, Jan. 27, some local elected officials from townships, the Marquette County Board, and the cities met with the Marquette County Road Commission to discuss whether or not to move forward on Rio Tinto’s County Road 595/Woodland Road ore hauling project. The meeting was closed to the public.

However, Headwaters News spoke with Jim Iwanicki, Marquette County Road Commission engineer, who said, "'The general consensus of the group was that the existing road system was not in the best public safety interest of the community as a whole and they wanted to continue to look at what options there were to continue on the 595 project.'"

Click here to read the Headwaters News Jan. 28, 2011, article by Gabriel Caplett, "Marquette County Officials Discuss Plan to Build Rio Tinto’s Ore Hauling Road."

On Monday, Jan. 31, the Marquette City Commission discussed Rio Tinto - Kennecott's haul road plans at their regular meeting, open to the public.

An article today, Feb. 1, in the Marquette Mining Journal reported on that meeting, noting Kennecott's current proposal to upgrade and use existing roads, including Marquette County Road AAA, County Road 510, County Road 550 and Wright Street -- which runs through the city -- to get to U.S. 41 and the Humboldt facility met with "a strong negative response" from the city officials.

The article, by Journal staff writer Christopher Diem, also includes some public comments made at this meeting.

Click here to read the Feb. 1 Mining Journal article, "City commission unhappy with Kennecott haul move."

* Editor's Note: See the Jan. 18, 2011, Headwaters News article, "Rio Tinto Wilderness Haul Road Plan Cancelled a Second Time."

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