Rio commits $300M for Mich. nickel mine [UPDATE]

Dec 17, 2007 | 12:50 PM | Meghann McDonell

Rio Tinto has pledged $300 million for the development of a new primary nickel mine near Marquette, Mich.

The Eagle Mine is expected to deliver 16,000 tonnes of nickel over seven years starting in 2009, in addition to copper, cobalt, platinum and palladium.

Eagle, which Rio Tinto said will be the only primary nickel mine in the United States, is being developed by Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. in Marquette, a unit of Kennecott Minerals Co., which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

It is still too early to assess the effect that Eagle's material will have on the market, according to one trader. "In the short term I don't think it will impact the market," he said. "Like all potential projects it takes time to start producing, and only then will we have a better idea on the impact it will have on prices."

Eagle is not the only nickel mine being developed along the edge of the Duluth Complex in western Michigan and northern Minnesota. ....

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