- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - A mining company hoping to find additional mineral deposits near an underground nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula that started up last year said a new deposit has been found.

Lundin Mining Corp. officials announced this week that exploration drilling discovered a high-grade nickel-copper mineralization zone about 1.2 miles east of the Eagle Mine ore body in Marquette County, The Mining Journal of Marquette reported (https://bit.ly/1eT3Ab9 ).

Toronto-based Lundin says the drilling was being conducted in an “Eagle East” area that was previously thought to contain primarily low-grade sulfides. The high-grade zone was located about 3,000 feet below the surface. More drilling is planned this year.

“We’re very early in the exploration stage for this area,” said Dan Blondeau, Eagle Mine spokesman. “It’s too early to tell if this will materialize into anything significant. It’s too early to talk mining or permitting.”

The new zone contains massive and semi-massive sulfide mineralization. Massive sulfide has the highest nickel-copper mineral concentration, Lundin said. The discovery of additional mineral deposits could extend the anticipated 8-year life of the mine.

Eagle Mine general manager Mike Welch said in a statement that company officials are “encouraged by the results of our ongoing exploration program.” The size of the high-grade zone hasn’t been determined. Mining began last year at Eagle Mine following a 12-year legal and political struggle.

Environmental groups, a Native American tribe and a private hunting and fishing club fought to prevent the mine from being built since Kennecott Minerals Co. conducted exploratory drilling in 2002, saying it poses numerous ecological risks. Lundin now owns the mine.

Opponents contend the mine poses a serious risk to groundwater and the Salmon Trout River, saying that if sulfide mineral ores are exposed to air and water, a chemical reaction generates acid that can pollute waters. The state, however, declared the mine structurally sound.

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Information from: The Mining Journal, https://www.miningjournal.net

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