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Rio Tinto to Invest $469 million in Nickel and Copper Mine

June 18, 2010
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Rio Tinto has announced plans to invest $469 million in constructing the Kennecott Eagle nickel and copper mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, following receipt of final environmental approvals. Construction of the mine and mill will begin this year and first production is expected in late 2013.

“Moving to the construction phase of Eagle is part of our strategy to increase investment in attractive growth projects in 2010,” said Andrew Harding, chief executive, Copper. “The long-term demand outlook remains strong for both nickel and copper, and bringing Eagle on stream will give us greater benefit from that growth.”

The mine will reportedly be the only primary nickel mine in the U.S., and is the first new mining operation to be built in Michigan in decades, under some of the most stringent environmental permitting rules in the U.S. “This reflects an environmentally responsible and community-focused operation,” Harding said.

The facility will produce separate nickel and copper concentrates containing an average of 17,300 and 13,200 tons per year of nickel and copper metal, respectively, over six years. Funding will enable the construction of a new underground mine, associated surface facilities for servicing the mine, rehabilitation of an existing mill and the development of a multi-use access road. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a highly prospective region for nickel and copper exploration, and Rio Tinto is actively exploring for additional resources in the immediate area. 

For more information, visit www.riotinto.com.

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