Gogebic Taconite has applied for a state permit to begin exploratory drilling at the site of a proposed iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties. Ann Coakley, Waste and Materials Management Program director with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the agency has 10 business days to review Gogebic’s application.
The firm requested a license to drill 13 holes in bedrock, up to 1400 feet deep. If the DNR agrees, it might be awhile before the work can commence. Coakley said the mining firm is waiting for drier conditions, since parts of Ashland County had 21 inches of snow last week. The drilling permit is the first step in a long process of environmental reviews and probable court challenges before Gogebic could actually begin mining.
The company helped draft the mining incentive bill approved by the governor and Legislature this spring. It will ease certain environmental rules, and set more exact time limits for the state to grant new mining permits.