BIG BAY - About two dozen investors and analysts toured the Eagle Mine and Humboldt Mill Thursday as Lundin Mining Co. officials showed off their developing copper and nickel project.
Lundin spokesman Daniel Blondeau said the Eagle project visitors came "from various parts of the world" and represented a number of financial institutions. The tour was part of a two-day visit, which began Wednesday.
"We are pleased to have this group at Eagle to see the great construction progress that has been made," Blondeau said. "This type of visit put a spotlight on Eagle, which is an excellent project and continues to be built on time and on schedule."
Some Eagle project protesters also wanted to attract the attention of the visitors.
"We are here to let the investors know this is a high risk project full of unknown variables that will continue to drive up costs and delay or prevent production," said Save the Wild U.P. vice president Kathleen Heideman.
The protesters demonstrated at the Eagle Mine site in Michigamme Township Thursday morning.
"These investors might as well burn their money," said Jeffery Loman, another Eagle project opponent. "With inadequate regulation this mine will not succeed."
Blondeau reacted to the protest saying, "We're always available to the community through our information center and community forums, which (will) be taking place in October."
In a news release earlier this week, Lundin officials outlined some of the latest developments at the mine site and the Humboldt Mill in Humboldt Township where ore from the mine will be processed.
"We are pleased to see the rapid progress being made at Eagle and the ongoing high level of community support as this new major investment advances in the Upper Peninsula," said Lundin president and CEO Paul Conibear. "Our efforts to ramp up the project quickly have gone well and we remain confident in our ability to deliver the project on or ahead of schedule and budget."
Project engineering is nearly complete. The overall project progress is about 65 percent complete. All major equipment is expected to arrive on-site before the end of the year.
A lease agreement for rail cars was signed this month. Bid evaluation for the mining contract is moving forward with contractors expected to be mobilized before the end of the year. Bids for hauling ore are being evaluated and the award is expected to be announced next month.
The number of on-site employees and contractors has been increased to 400.
"The company's focus remains on ensuring that all development activities continue to meet or exceed all targets, resulting in a new high quality mining operation producing significant levels of metal production and revenue by the end of next year," Conibear said.
Mill construction activities are on track. Production at the mine and mill is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of 2014 or sooner. Full commercial production is slated for the second quarter of the following year.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is email@example.com.