US mining engineer Jack Parker has issued a strong technical critique of the Eagle project’s mine plan. The project in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States is being proposed by Rio Tinto subsidiary Kennecott.
For the full report, see
Save the Wild UP
May 11, 2009

Teresa Bertossi, Outreach Coordinator, Save the Wild UP
PHONE:  (906) 228-4444
Jack Parker, Mining Engineer
Kennecott Mine Application Incompetent or Fraudulent?
Marquette, MI – Mining expert Jack Parker has completed a 33-page report outlining severe problems with the underground portion of Kennecott Eagle Mine application.  The report, entitled KEMC Eagle Project:  A Fraudulent Permit Application?, details Kennecott’s rock sampling and rock testing procedures, which are not representative of the ore body; lack of sound mining analysis to prevent the mine from collapsing; doctoring of design data; absence of case histories; potential for mine fires; misinterpretation of surficial geology, and of horizontal rock stresses; and other pressing issues.   The report, which contains detailed images and examples, is written in laymen’s terms to ensure understanding by readers without a technical background in mining.
In the introduction to his report Parker writes “After three years of studying the application and related documents my original opinion has not changed, but I would add a conclusion that either the writers and all of the reviewers were not experienced and competent in mining and geology, or that their intent was to deceive, to ensure that permits would be issued without delay. Maybe both.”
Beginning his career in the Midland coal mines in 1946, Parker left England to work on a new copper and nickel mine on Canada’s Hudson Bay, in 1954.  Later, he graduated from Michigan Technological University (MTU) with multiple degrees in geology, mining and geological engineering and worked for ten years at the White Pine copper mine, in Michigan; for seven years directing their practical rock mechanics program.  Since 1974 Parker has worked as a well-respected independent mine consultant, taught at MTU and written numerous technical and popular publications.  Over a sixty-year career in the industry, Parker has been hired as a consultant on hundreds of mining projects, here and abroad.  Parker has worked, full-time, on research related to Kennecott’s Eagle Mine plan since April 2006; for the past two years unpaid.
“I am ‘for’ mining, not against it,” says Parker.  “I am not looking for a job, or for compensation.  I think that the Eagle Project has a wonderful ore body (much of it not revealed to us yet) and it, and neighboring prospects, should be mined, but mined responsibly.  The plan presented is clearly not responsible, therefore the permits already issued should be revoked.”
Teresa Bertossi, of Save the Wild UP, disagrees that the Eagle deposit should be mined.  “The Yellow Dog Plains are one of the last wild areas east of the Mississippi River.  The Great Lakes Basin is no place to mine metallic sulfide ore bodies with a high potential to leach acid and heavy metals, however, it is comforting that there are still consultants like Jack Parker who rely on science and integrity to reach informed conclusions.”
Bertossi has additional concerns with the company’s mine application process.
“Let’s say Kennecott turns in a new application at the end of the court proceedings, one produced by reliable engineers, using honest data, with the result being a less dangerous mine plan,” said Bertossi.  “Could we trust them to operate a risky metallic sulfide mine in a very sensitive location?  Kennecott squandered its chance to try to do the mine plan right, but the Michigan DEQ may well let them run roughshod, risking our freshwater resources and the safety of mine workers?”
In 2006, Parker was asked to study the accuracy of information presented on mine stability within Kennecott’s Eagle Project.  The Eagle Project, as proposed, would be a relatively small underground nickel and copper mine.  The metals are present in the form of sulfide minerals.  When exposed to water and air, the sulfides create sulfuric acid, which, if released from the mine, becomes acid mine drainage.  According to the Government of Norway, acid mine drainage is “considered one of the most serious mining-related environmental problems across the world.”  Norway, formerly one of the largest shareholders of Kennecott’s parent company, Rio Tinto, divested nearly $900 million in shares, in 2008, calling the company’s environmental record in West Papua “grossly unethical.”
Local opposition to the Eagle Project has been extensive, with ten-thousand citizens signing a petition in opposition to the project.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved the Eagle Project application in 2007, after delays associated with suppression of adverse information regarding mine stability.  The approval is currently being contested in court while Kennecott waits for final approval of a surface use lease of public land from the Department of Natural Resources and underground injection permits from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Kennecott has yet to be challenged, in court, for fraud under Michigan’s new metallic mining law.
For a copy of Jack Parker’s report, please contact Teresa Bertossi at (906) 228-4444 or  For an interview with Parker, please contact him at