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First Successfully Permitted Mine under New Nonferrous Metallic Mining Law


Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, retained Foth to lead the preparation of permitting documents under a new set of state mining laws for the Eagle Project in Marquette County, Michigan. Foth began working with Kennecott and their stakeholder groups to draft Michigan’s new mining law and administrative rules.  


Our team prepared permitting strategies and assessments, participated in Kennecott’s Community Advisory Group meetings, and technically reviewed baseline environmental studies before incorporating them into project permit documents. Foth prepared the environmental impact assessment, mine permit application, air permit application, stormwater permit application, and groundwater discharge permit applicationOur work included analysis of dewatering impacts on aquifers, streams, and adjacent wetlands, and the negotiation of permit conditions to adaptively manage and mitigate wetland impacts. We completed the engineering for major components of the project including water management infrastructure, a wastewater treatment plant, and development of rock storage facilities. Foth prepared the environmental monitoring plan, treatment and containment plan, reclamation and closure plan, contingency plan, and financial assurance plan and cost estimate. Our team also completed the Amended Environment Impact Assessment and Mining Permit Amendment for the expansion of Eagle East to allow Eagle Mine to expand their operation to an adjacent deposit.


The Eagle Project was the first mine to be successfully permitted under Michigan’s new nonferrous metallic mining law and advanced to construction. Extensive environmental studies, proper planning and follow-through made this mine a reality, demonstrating that economic growth can coexist with current environmental regulationsFoth led the defense of the permit applications in the Contested Case Hearing. This project withstood all legal challenges including: 

  • 2008 Contested Case Hearing Challenging the Mining Permit, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Groundwater Discharge Permit.
  • Appeal of the Air Permit.
  • Appeal of the Mining Permit to Michigan Supreme Court.





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