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English-Australian Rio Tinto Invests $469M in Michigan Mine

06/16/2010
Rio Tinto, an English-Australian mining group with headquarters in the United Kingdom, will invest $469 million to develop the Kennecott Eagle nickel and copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Construction of the mine and mill will begin this year, with production starting in late 2013.

"The long-term demand outlook remains strong for both nickel and copper, and bringing Eagle on stream will give us greater benefit from that growth," said Andrew Harding, chief executive of Copper.

Kennecott Eagle is the first new mine to be built in Michigan in decades. It will be the only primary U.S. nickel mine, producing 17,300 tons of nickel and 13,200 tons of copper annually over six years.

Rio Tinto has received environmental approvals to proceed with construction, but it has already experienced some controversy. A Native American tribe that considers the site sacred has protested the construction, resulting in two arrests in May, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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