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      DEQ denies Marquette's request regarding Eagle Mine

      The Department of Environmental Quality has denied the City of Marquette's request for Rio Tinto Eagle Mine to reduce and mitigate impacts to city streets.

      Last week, the Marquette City Commission voted to send a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, requesting that Rio Tinto amends its Environmental Impact Assessment.

      The DEQ issued the statement on Wednesday, stating that it was denying the request for the Eagle Mine permit to be amended, which could have forced the company to reduce and mitigate impacts in the City of Marquette.

      The department reviewed the terms of the transaction between Rio Tinto and Lundin Mining and confirmed that the transaction is an equity purchase and does not entail a transfer of the permits for the mine or the mill. The DEQ did acknowledge the concerns of the City of Marquette regarding impact on city streets, but doesn't agree that Rio Tinto Eagle Mine is in violation of the permit.

      The DEQ cited Part 632 of the permit, stating that the City of Marquette is not within the "affected area."

      Part 632:"...an area outside of the mining area where the land surface, surface water, groundwater, or air resources are determined through an environmental impact assessment to be potentially affected by mining operations within the proposed mining area."

      "The mining permit just requires that you identify a transportation route," said Rio Tinto spokesman Dan Blondeau. "That would be the entire route from the mine to the mill, which includes going through the city. We hope to have a positive dialogue and some real discussions about the future of transportation through the Marquette area along with them and other parties."

      Now that the DEQ has denied the city's request, it will be up to the City of Marquette and Rio Tinto Eagle Mine to discuss the issues facing city streets and truck traffic.