Taconite mining may return to Gogebic RangeWisconsin News
-- A mining company wants to extract iron ore from an old mountain range in far northern Wisconsin.
HURLEY - A mining company wants to extract iron ore from an old mountain range in far northern Wisconsin.
Gogebic Taconite has bought an option to lease mineral rights on a 22-mile stretch between Mellen and Upson in Ashland-and-Iron counties. The region has been mined before, most recently in the 1960’s. It would be Wisconsin’s first mine since the Flambeau copper facility near Ladysmith in the ‘90’s.
Gogebic Taconite is negotiating with Iron County for access to forest lands for things like roads-and-buildings for the open-pit mine. The firm is a subsidiary of the Cline Group, which owns coal reserves in Illinois and parts of the Appalachian territory. Cline says it will file a notice-of-intent next year with the state DNR. It will explain the project further before the company seeks a state permit. It could take 5-to-7 years to get all the necessary government approvals – and Gogebic plans to spend a billion dollars on the mine. Cline says similar mines in Michigan and Minnesota employ 600 people each.
The pit would be mined in sections, and the firm says the site would be returned to its natural state. The Nature Conservancy says it’s concerned about the effects of mining on pine martens and woodland birds. But Iron County Board Chairman Dennis DeRosso, who worked on the area’s last mine in the ‘60’s, believes any environmental concerns can be resolved.