MARQUETTE, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – Cliffs Natural Resources and the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine have entered into a two-part agreement that features a new multi-million dollar fund created to assist community-focused projects in Marquette County and improved rail line mine and mill access for the companies.
The Cliffs/Rio Tinto Marquette County Community Fund will be financed by $4 million as the result of an agreement between Cliffs and Rio Tinto involving railroad access to locations around the county. The fund will provide financial assistance to major community projects focusing on education, youth, environment, health and community development.
The second agreement between Cliffs, Rio Tinto and rail line operator Mineral Range Inc., allows the LS&I Railroad to gain a three-mile rail bypass near its Eagle Mills Yard. Further, Cliffs, through the LS&I Railroad,has provided to Rio Tinto the right to reactivate a 1.8-mile rail right-of-way to the Humboldt Mill, which had previously been placed in the State of Michigan’s Rails to Trails program.
Mineral Range also receives the right-of-way for 12 miles of track from the Ishpeming rail yard to Humboldt Junction, previously owned by the LS&I Railroad.
The agreement stipulates that a grant committee made up of two members each from Cliffs and Rio Tinto will make the decisions related to disbursement of the fund’s assets. The committee is directed to endeavor to disburse all of the money in the fund within five years.