A new company is signaling interest in developing an iron ore mine in Northern Wisconsin.
Landowners in the Penokee Hills have met with officials from La Pointe Iron Company to discuss reviving plans for a controversial open-pit iron ore in Ashland and Iron Counties. Iron County Development Zone Director Kelly Klein says it would help stimulate the economy around the region, and possibly the northern half of the state.
Earlier this year, mining company Gogebic Taconite abandoned its plans to develop an iron ore mine in Northern Wisconsin. The company had successfully lobbied for changes in state law that streamlined the approval process for the project, but they still faced strong opposition from environmentalists and strict reviews from federal regulators.
Klein believes some of those critics overstated the risks to “scare people.” However, he says it is encouraging to see that La Pointe plans on commissioning more studies looking into the impact an iron ore mine would have on the environment, if it moves forward with any project. Klein says he’d never want the region’s tourist-and-timber economy to disappear — but he wants local resources to be used as best as possible.
Reporting by Dylan Brogan