To the editor:
Thanks for reprinting John Pepin's recent article from The Mining Journal (regarding the decision not to grant a permit for Marquette County Road 595).
Please allow me to clarify a couple of points therein.
The killing of the project has been blamed variously on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and now Rio Tinto.
Blame none of the above, except indirectly. To be acceptable, the "mitigation properties" offered by Kennecott must be accompanied by all of the mineral rights to protect them from mining for all time.
Not all of the documents have been found, therefore there is no guarantee, therefore the properties are not acceptable. That's it.
The MDEQ states that there isn't enough time so they cannot approve a permit. Then the EPA cannot approve, either.
But the very best news came from Kennecott Eagle Minerals spokesperson Dan Blondeau who, after bemoaning the demise of CR 595, added this: "Our focus now turns to existing trucking routes as we originally outlined in our mine permit application."
That makes sense. We have come full-circle to the original and most appropriate way to get that high grade, direct-shipping ore to market. It is the shortest, cheapest, least disruptive route and it rids us of major problems with traffic, long-term maintenance, environmental and tailings management - forever.
Let us give thanks to whomever is in charge.