Rio Tinto's Eagle, a nickel and copper mine in Michigan worth $469 million, has been approved. This is the second overseas investment by Rio Tinto after the Australian government announced the RSPT mining tax.
The Eagle mine will add nickel to the Rio Tinto mineral portfolio. Rio copper chief executive Andrew Harding said Eagle would be the only nickel mine in the US, and the first mine to be built in Michigan in decades.
Eagle will produce separate nickel and copper concentrates containing an average of 17,300 and 13,200 tonnes per year of nickel and copper metal respectively over six years. Funding will enable construction of a new underground mine, associated surface facilities for servicing the mine, rehabilitation of an existing mill and development of a multi-use access road. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a highly prospective region for nickel and copper exploration and Rio Tinto is actively exploring for additional resources in the immediate area.
Rio Tinto seems to be reevaluating its mining investments in Australia after the RSPT was announced. It has also invested in the resumption of expansion of a $235 million iron ore mine in Canada.