The state lawmaker who championed a law to overhaul Wisconsin’s mining regulations says he’s not shocked that plans for a northern Wisconsin mine are being delayed.
Gogebic Taconite is expected to wait until at least next year before submitting an application for a open pit iron ore mine in Iron and Ashland counties. Given the high costs involved, state Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) says it’s not unexpected for the company to press pause on the project. “They went through the first two stages of the permitting process, which were the easiest stages, and now they get to creating the environmental impact statement. It’s probably going to cost them $30 million to create that…that’s a significant invest with no certainty that they’re going to get a permit.”
Tiffany also worries about federal action by the EPA, such as a recent decision to halt a gold mine in Alaska without even allowing the company to go through the permitting process. He says they have to be aware of that possibility.
Tiffany says he’s holding out hope that the rest of the project will eventually move ahead. The Hazelhurst Republican does not think any additional changes in state mining laws are needed to move the project forward.