MARQUETTE, Mich. — A Michigan mine has requested to lease mineral rights from the state on land spanning nearly 15,300 acres (nearly 6,200 hectares), but some environmental advocates worry about the affect mining could have on endangered species in the area.

Much of the property is classified as Leasable Development with Restriction, the Mining Journal reported . This classification means that subsurface minerals can be mined, but that additional regulatory review and permitting is required.

“Leasing these parcels allows us to consider expanding exploration activities beyond the existing Eagle Mine footprint,” said Meagen Morrison, social responsibility adviser at Eagle Mine. “This is the first step of many, even though there are no definitive plans to begin an exploration program. Our goal is to obtain the leases and consider future options in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula).”

A small percentage of parcels has been determined to contain threatened or endangered species habitat, including the parcel in Marquette County.

Kathleen Heideman, a member of environmental advocacy group the Mining Action Group, said she’s aware of an effort to restore Kirtland’s warbler habitat near where Eagle Mine is requesting the lease in Marquette County.

“That’s really concerning to me that this is now encroaching on Kirtland habitat,” she said.

Department of Natural Resources officials wrote in a parcel description that any work should be restricted from June through mid-July at the property to protect neo-tropical migrant birds, including the Kirtland’s warbler, during the nesting and fledging period.

The description said the present and possible increase in mining exploration activity could “adversely impact the long-term viability of various wildlife populations in this region.”

Eagle Mine is in northern Michigamme Township and is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corp. It’s the nation’s only primary nickel mine, but it also extracts copper and small amounts of other metals.


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