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      Rio Tinto passes the torch to Lundin Mining

      The Eagle Mine in northern Marquette County is now owned by the Lundin Mining Corporation out of Toronto. Rio Tinto, the former owner, held a handover ceremony and celebration with the community at the Humboldt Mill Thursday. Rio Tinto is passing the torch. The Eagle Mine will be the largest of Lundin's operations. "We're excited to be able to start hiring people and wrapping up construction with a project that will be starting up production by the end of next year," said Paul Conibear, President and C.E.O. of the Lundin Mining Corporation. The $315 million sale was official as of July 17. On Thursday, 200 people came to celebrate the change at the Humboldt Mill and see the ceremonial handover. Rio Tinto is the second largest mining company in the world and has played an active role in Marquette County for over 10 years. In 2012, Eagle Mine officials began looking for a new partner, but earlier this year they decided to sell instead. For former Eagle Mine president Adam Burley, it's a fond farewell.

      "We're very proud of what we've achieved as Rio Tinto here at the Eagle Mine...We look forward very positively, pleased with Lundin's acquisition, confident that they'll take the business forward in a very positive way and continue in those areas of excellence around environment and safety," said Burley. There are currently 70 employees and over 100 contractors working with the Eagle Mine. The Lundin C.E.O. says that for now, he'll maintain the status quo and keep operations the same, but that the future is looking bright for the Eagle Mine.

      "The opportunities for change are the opportunities for more employment to get this project up and running sooner than had been expected, and that's our focus," Conibear said. Conibear hopes for at least 10 years of life out of the mine.