Gogebic Taconite files intent-to-mine noticeGogebic Taconite has notified the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that it plans to seek a mining permit, the first formal step toward an iron ore open pit mine in the Penokee Range.
By: Mike Simonson , Wisconsin Public Radio
Gogebic Taconite has notified the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that it plans to seek a mining permit, the first formal step toward an iron ore open pit mine in the Penokee Range.
It’s necessary to send an intent-to-mine notification before Gogebic Taconite can apply for an actual mining permit. But that would be at least a year away, and state Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said the company is filing now in an effort to pre-empt a local zoning ordinance proposed by Ashland County.
“The bottom line: This notice of intent had more to do with describing the intention of this company not to sign local agreements, not to be a good neighbor, not to cooperate with the citizens of the region, because they write the bill and we should just live with it.”
The Ashland County Board is expected to pass a zoning ordinance today that would require a mining company to cover mining costs. Board Chairman Pete Russo of Mellen said that’s reasonable.
“That ordinance is not to the left and not to the right. It’s right square in the middle,” Mellen said. “I hate to say it but you feel like you were just sold down the road, you know?”
But Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz said the company opposes local zoning because state regulations are enough. He also said if the ordinance passes, Gogebic may pull out of Ashland County.
“We certainly would want to be where we’re welcomed,” he said. “If one county doesn’t want the tax revenue that comes from mining, then we would certainly talk to them about trying to keep the mining out of that county.”
Gogebic filed the papers Monday. They include a plan that calls for sampling rock from five sites to assess the quality of the iron deposit, according to the Associated Press. Less than 10,000 tons would be removed from the five sites, which would each average about half an acre in size.
A public informational hearing on the intent to mine and the bulk sampling plan will take place in Ashland or Iron county in July or August. It could take about 45 to 75 days for the DNR to decide on Gogebic’s plans.