Empire & Tilden Mines


Project Names: Empire Mine and Tilden Mine

Website: http://www.cliffsnaturalresources.com/EN/aboutus/GlobalOperations/Pages/IronOre.aspx

Project Lead: Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company

Location of Projects: 1842 Treaty territory in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Marquette Iron Range in Palmer, MI, near Ishpeming, MI (click here to see a bird's eye view).

Minerals: magnetite and hematite (low grade iron-ore)
Type of Mine: open-pits; Tilden is 2 miles long by 1/2 mile wide and Empire is 1 mile across and 1,200 feet deep.

Production life: Empire has been in operation since the 1964 and may shut down by 2015. Tilden has operated since 1989 and may continue operations for another 30 years.

Impacts and Concerns:

  • Scale of land alteration - over hundreds of square miles of permanent mine pits and waste storage sites
  •  Large amounts of water and energy used during processing
  •  Mercury emissions
  •  Air quality associated with nitrogen oxide (NOX) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions
  • Tailings and elevated levels of selenium
  •  Impacts to traditional fishery resource at Goose Lake
  •  Economic impacts when Empire closes
  •  Mine closure and reclamation plans for Empire

Status: In-operation. On January 15, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Federal Implementation Plan to set air pollution standards for the Tilden Mine along with five other taconite facilities in Minnesota.

Update on Selenium Projects at Tilden and Empire Mines