HUMBOLDT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Excavation of Lundin Mining's ‘Eagle East’ began Monday, with employees celebrating the first load of ore being brought to the Humboldt Mill.
The delivery of ore from Eagle East to the Humboldt Mill on Monday morning was the culmination of 3 years of work.
"Discovery of Eagle East was in 2016 and shortly after that, we started our development mining, which is six miles of underground drifts to access Eagle East," said Eagle Mine’s technical services superintendent Josh Lam.
Eagle East is connected by tunnel to the original Eagle mine, and contains a more mineral rich vein of nickel and copper.
"We're continuing our production rate the same as what it's always been,” said Kristen Mariuzza, managing director for Eagle Mine. “The employees will be retaining their jobs, so really, from an external standpoint, you won't see much of a change."
Having Eagle East allows Lundin Mining to keep up their same level of production for a longer amount of time.
"We went from an original mine life of 2021 to a new mine life of 2023 and then recently with our underground drill program in Eagle East, we were able to extend another two years to 2025," said Mariuzza.
From Monday on, the ore from Eagle East will be combined with the ore from the Eagle Mine, and both will be processed at the Humboldt Mill until at least 2025.
"It's the first time anybody is ever seeing this rock,” said Mariuzza. “That's what's exciting about mining. It's a significant milestone for all of us."
Operations will continue as normal, and although exploration has ceased, Eagle Mine is constantly looking for ways to continue mining in the area.
"It's exciting that we went from a shorter mine life to now 11 years and we hope that we continue to operate in the area," said Mariuzza.