Sulfide Mining 101, courtesy of

See also: Top 12 Reasons to Say “NO” to a metallic sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains.

What is Metallic Sulfide Mining?

Metallic sulfide mining is a Midwest US term, usually referred to as hard rock mining in the western US

Metallic sulfide mining is the practice of extracting metals (such as nickel, gold and copper) from a sulfide ore body

Why is Metallic Sulfide Mining a Concern?

When excavated, if sulfide ore or the tailings piles are exposed to water and air a chemical reaction can create sulfuric acid

Precipitation can cause sulfuric acid to drain from the mine site called acid mine drainage (AMD), which can drain into nearby water resources and thereby harm people, plants, animals and metal and concrete structures

There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that has not polluted water resources where water was present

AMD also dissolves heavy metals (lead, zinc, copper, and mercury), allowing them to enter groundwater and surface water

AMD can form red, orange or yellow sediments in the bottom of streams which can disrupt the growth and reproduction of fish or kill aquatic plants and animals

AMD can be very expensive to clean up and has costly impacts on local communities

Why Metallic Sulfide Mining is a Bad Deal for Michigan

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t have the funding to adequately implement the laws that regulate Metallic Sulfide Mining

Water and sulfide do not mix:

Michigan’s UP has 1,700 miles of shoreline along three of the Great Lakes

There are 12,000 miles of rivers and streams and 4,300 inland lakes in the UP

It takes approximately 190 years for contaminants to cycle through LakeSuperior

The Great Lakes contain 18% of the world’s freshwater

Facts About Metallic Sulfide Mining in MI

* Multinational mining corporations are exploring uranium and metallic sulfide ore bodies throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

* Rio Tinto (also called Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company (KEMC)) is the first to apply for a permit to operate a metallic sulfide mine in Michigan, on an area of land called the Yellow Dog Plains, 10 miles from Lake Superior.

* The company proposes to blast under a trout stream and through a sacred rock outcrop called Eagle Rock by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

* The company was granted permits from State agencies to begin mining in Michigan under Michigan’s new, weak and untested sulfide mining regulation. These permits are currently being contested by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Huron Mountain Club, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, and the National Wildlife Federation

* Currently, the mine has been stalled and a concerned community and anxious mining giant await the results of a lawsuit.

Is Metallic Sulfide Mining Good for The Economy?

* Mining is a boom-bust industry that while it produces short-term economic stimulus, has been proven to leave communities more impoverished than they were when mining companies arrived.

* The mainstay of Upper Michigan's Economy is tourism, and punching multiple heavily polluting mines into our pristine wilderness threatens the future of eco-tourism which brings 20 million in revenue to a city like Munising alone, 2 times more than the entire Eagle project promises.

* The Future of Mining is robotics.