Fri August 16, 2013
With First Public Hearing Over, DNR Says Mine Timeline May Slow
The fast-tracking of a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin may run a bit slower than previously expected.
The Department of Natural Resources now says it will need more information from Gogebic Taconite before moving forward.
The first public hearing about the mine lasted all day and into the evening Thursday. DNR Hydrogeologist Larry Lynch says the comments now give them more to consider. Also, on Tuesday the DNR sent a letter asking GTAC for more information about stormwater drainage and other technical points.
Much of the public testimony was against allowing GTAC from bulk sampling, including concern about the possible pollution of the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior from the 4,000 tons of rock to be mined in that process. Opponents spoke passionately about preserving this pristine area for future generations instead of removing the top of part of the Penokee Hills.
Just as passionately — but in about one tenth the numbers — were people who made the case for jobs from mining.
Lynch says not only are they at least three months from making a decision on allowing bulk sampling, but more importantly, 15 to 18 months before GTAC can even apply for a mining permit. Once that happens, a decision on the mine permit would be at least two years after that. The Republican legislature boasted that the new iron ore bill would speed up the process to have a mine permitted in about one year.
Economy and Business