Lundin Mining said on July 17 it had closed its acquisition of the Eagle nickel-copper mine construction project on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula from Rio Tinto, previously announced on June 12, (E&MJ, July 2013, p. 5). In a project update, Lundin reported that Eagle project construction is more than 50% complete, and initial production is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2014.
Project ramp-up is proceeding well, according to the company. Earthworks, concrete installation, and steel erection are under way at the mill site. The contract for mine-site coarse ore storage has been awarded, and the contractor and all vendors have been mobilized. New delivery dates are being finalized. Most equipment has been ordered and is expected to be delivered to site prior to year-end.
Approximately 100 construction personnel were on site in mid-July, with a peak of approximately 350 expected later this year. Eagle has approximately 70 people on staff and recruiting is under way to support the objective of ramping up to approximately 220 staff in the third quarter of 2014. Opportunities for schedule acceleration are being explored.
Annual Eagle mine production over the first three full years of operation (2015–2017) is expected to average approximately 23,000 mt of nickel and 20,000 mt of copper in separate concentrates, plus precious metals and cobalt by-product credits.