White Pine acquisition closing date set

HOUGHTON — Copper Range Company and Highland Copper Company Inc. announced their agreement Thursday to complete the acquisition of the White Pine project June 30.

“The final closing of the acquisition is subject to releasing CRC from certain environmental obligations associated with the remediation and closure plan of the historical White Pine mine site in a manner that is acceptable to all parties involved, including applicable governmental authorities, and replacing the related environmental bond posted by CRC,” the press release says.

“If the acquisition goes through, we’ll be taking responsibility for all the remediation that’s ongoing,” said Highland Spokesman Dave Anderson, who clarified Highland wants to purchase Copper Range’s assets at the site, and no actual structures in the White Pine Industrial Park. He said Highland would acquire mineral rights and land from Copper Range for Highland’s proposed White Pine North project. The land includes the old tailings pond.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been working with the companies on the remediation for years.

“There is a remediation plan for that property,” said Joan Park, from the DEQ office in Marquette. “A lot of the work has been done already.” Park added the owner will have to continue remediation efforts as well as monitor safeguards to ensure the environment is protected from potential contamination from old mining activity. She also noted Highland would have to apply for a permit to mine the copper under the surface of the land, like the White Pine North deposit.

CRC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals Ltd.