City officials to meet with Lundin on routes

MARQUETTE – A city of Marquette subcommittee is expected to meet today with officials of the Lundin Mining Corp. to work out details of trucking issues as it relates to the city.

A short-term route, which will be used for the company to haul nickel and copper ore from the Eagle Mine in Michigamme Township to the Humboldt Mill in Humboldt Township, will be from the mine heading east along the Triple A Road to Marquette County Road 510 to County Road 550 south to Sugar Loaf Avenue to Wright Street to U.S. 41 west to M-95 to County Road 601 and the mill.

Marquette City Commissioner Sara Cambensy is part of that subcommittee, along with Commissioner Mike Coyne and Mayor Pro Tem Fred Stonehouse.

Cambensy gave an update on the subcommittee’s progress at the Monday commission meeting. She said funding issues will be among the details to be discussed with Lundin.

“Those are things we are looking at,” Cambensy said. “The other is safety. It goes right through campus.”

Another item to be discussed, she said, is the duration of the short-term route.

Cambensy said the subcommittee has been meeting with Lundin weekly and biweekly to reach a consensus on that temporary route, which it will bring to the city commission for action.

“It is important to note that Lundin has been very supportive,” Cambensy said. “The negotiations have been going very well with them.”

Cambensy stressed financial considerations are essential, noting, for example, the Michigamme and Humboldt regions as well as the state of Michigan will receive severance tax money while the city will not receive severance tax dollars or royalties.

Cambensy said one goal is to relieve the congestion on Wright Street.

“Unlike the townships or counties, the city carries the full cost of road care and maintenance,” she said.

Cambensy pointed to the financial challenges the city faces, which include an estimated $500,000 in unplanned recent cold weather-related expenses related to city freeze-ups that will have to come out of the General Fund.

The city, therefore, can’t afford a trucking route through the city, she said, even though it appreciates the economic development the mine will bring to the region.

“As the spring melt hits, all of our roads will show wear and tear,” Cambensy said.

City taxpayers, Cambensy pointed out, will still want their roads maintained.

The subcommittee, Cambensy said, continues to meet with state lawmakers and representatives from the Governor’s Office regarding the outlook for state funding.

The subcommittee also will continue to work with an interlocal group, which includes officials from throughout Marquette County, on a regional solution that includes a long-term mining route.

That route is expected to bypass the city.