The city of Marquette and Lundin Mining Co. have taken a positive step to address the inevitable - hauling of ore from the Eagle Mine to the Humboldt processing plant.
This step came in the form of an agreement between the city and Lundin's subsidiary, Eagle Mine LLC, that was unanimously approved Monday by the Marquette City Commission.
The pact designates a route through the city that ore from the Eagle Mine near Big Bay will be hauled enroute to Lundin's processing plant in Humboldt Township.
Starting on a limited basis this fall and expected to go full bore next year, mine trucks will enter the city from Marquette County Road 550 via Sugar Loaf Avenue, to its intersection with Wright Street and then to the western city border. Eagle Mine trucks will be able to travel the route 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
In exchange, the city will receive a road maintenance fee of $500,000 and a safety improvement fee of $200,000 for each year Eagle Mine trucks use the route.
In addition, the city and Eagle Mine officials have pledged to continue work on creating a bypass route that would eliminate mine trucks from traveling through the city and congested portions of Marquette Township.
If a bypass route can not be developed by Sept. 1, 2018, the agreement OK'd by the commission this week stipulates that Eagle Mine LLC will pay the city an additional $2.7 million for reconstruction of Sugar Loaf Avenue and Wright Street.
While welcoming the agreement as necessary to protect the interests of the city, commissioners also strongly urged officials to work diligently toward finding an alternative route.
Those efforts shouldn't just involve the city and mining interests, either, but other local, state and federal officials must be involved, according to commissioners.
We agree, and further express the belief that it would be wise to look beyond simply finding a route around the city and township and revisit the former proposal of constructing Marquette County Road 595 as a more direct route from the mine area to the Humboldt facility.
This is especially appropriate in light of the fact that other mining interests are studying locations in the same vicinity as Eagle Mine that hold potential for development.