The parent company for a controversial mining project in the Upper Peninsula has given a green light to fund it. Rio Tinto will spend $469 million dollars for the Kennecott Eagle Mine project near Marquette.
The mining conglomerate put the project on hold a couple of years ago because of global financial concerns.
Company officials expect long-term demand for nickel and copper from the mine to increase. They say construction now will begin this summer, with work focusing on a water treatment facility.
But Kennecott officials are still is waiting to see if U.S environmental regulators will require a permit to inject wastewater from the mine underground. Michigan environmental officials already have issued all state permits, but opponents are contesting those approvals in court.
American Indians contend the mine will deface a sacred site at Eagle Rock. Kennecott removed protestors camped on the site and fenced it off a couple of weeks ago.
A woman earlier charged with trespassing at Eagle Rock was convicted Tuesday, according to the Marquette Mining Journal. Two more protestors still face trespassing charges.