DNR Report on Proposed Mine Site Raises Concerns and Questions - WBAY

DNR Report on Proposed Mine Site Raises Concerns and Questions

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Debate over a proposed mine in Northern Wisconsin again turns to the environment.

A recent report from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources highlights potential problems if an open-pit mine is constructed along the Gogebic Range.

Gogebic Taconite wants to build the mine along a four-mile stretch of the range along the border of Iron and Ashland counties.

The report says if a mine were operation, there could be concerns with pollution, groundwater affecting wetlands, streams and lakes, requiring continuous monitoring by the DNR.

"What about adjacent wetlands, small water basins that might be impacted by such a large mining operation?" Jack Sullivan said, director of science services for the DNR. "There's always concerns about any potential mine drainage if you process ore on site."

Sullivan said anytime a big project could come before the agency, a report like this is issued for background.

But Bob Seitz, a spokesperson for Gogebic Taconite, said it's premature, adding the company's in the midst of its own multi-million dollar testing.

"They didn't consult anyone who had ever created a mine, expanded a mine or run a mine," Seitz said. "And so they ended up with a lot of factual errors as well as a lot of bias."

Monday in Ashwaubenon, Governor Walker said it's all part of the process.

"This report shows that we're going to have people go through all the logical processes that they need to do to make sure we have clean air, clean land, clean water," he said. "And at the same time we have the ability to put more people to work in this state."

Gogebic Taconite will spend the next several months gathering rock and core samples.

A formal application is still a ways off.

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