New community fund good news for Marquette County

We applaud Cliffs Natural Resources, Rio Tinto and the Lake Superior Community Partnership for teaming up to form a new $4 million community fund.

A story written by Mining Journal Staff Writer Zach Jay detailed the announcement, which was made Friday morning at the Landmark Inn in Marquette.

The idea is a simple one: Provide financial resources for long-term programs and projects in Marquette County with an emphasis on education, youth, environment, health and community development, and other so-called “legacy” efforts.

“We look forward to being able to share these funds with the Marquette County community,” Dale Hemmila, Cliffs Natural Resources director of public affairs in North America, said for Friday’s story.

The community fund will be financed through an agreement between Cliffs Natural Resources, Rio Tinto and Mineral Range, Inc., a third party rail line operator.

“What Cliffs and Rio Tinto really wanted to do was provide another community benefit beyond the jobs we provide here, beyond local purchasing, beyond tax revenues collected by local government,” said Matthew Johnson, external affairs manager of the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine. “And the negotiated agreement that we now have provided a perfect opportunity to … identify legacy opportunities for the companies while providing a long-term community benefit.”

It’s important to note, we think, that these companies aren’t obligated to do this. That they are willing to put up a large amount of their own money speaks well of them and their relationship with the residents of Marquette County.