April 17, 2014

DNR receives exploratory drilling application from mining firm

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received an exploration license application from Gogebic Taconite for exploratory drilling at the site of the company’s proposed open pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. Gogebic is proposing to drill fifteen exploratory drillholes at the site of the Penokee/Gogebic deposit.

Gogebic Taconite had applied for and received an exploration license in the spring of 2013, and drilled eight exploration drillholes last summer. According to Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management Program director, the agency will review and make a decision regarding the application within 10 business days, as required under the state’s iron mining law.

The application is available for viewing on the DNR’s web page about the project. The agency has also created a listserve for anyone interested in receiving updates about the project. The Penokee/Gogebic deposit is generally defined as the 21-mile western end of the 60-mile long Gogebic Iron Range, which stretches east to west from Lake Gogebic, Michigan, to Mineral Lake, Wisconsin.

Late last month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not be willing to work with the DNR on an Environmental Impact Statement for the mine, citing differences in the new state law and federal mining regulations. Earlier in December, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed legislation that will restrict public access to the mining site in Ashland and Iron Counties.