The Michigan DNR has issued a use permit to a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to do exploratory drilling on a 1-square-mile-piece of property located along the westernmost edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Gogebic County.
Michigan DNR spokesperson John Pepin outlines the activity....
"....they began their drilling Sunday and it's expected to go until early March, depending on the weather. What they're doing is drill a dozen holes to analyze whether there's sufficient quality and quantity of copper under the surface that could be mined...."
Pepin says if the company determines there is enough copper to extract, they would do a feasibility study....
".....if there was any potential mining, the company would have to go through a separate regulatory process through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Highland Copper would have to amend its permit, we have a use permit to do the drilling, They would have to prove to the DEQ that there would be no material damage to the state-managed Park surface features..."
Pepin says the drilling holes are about 5 inches wide. He says they're doing the drilling in the winter time when the ground is frozen in minimize potential impacts. He says if permitted, the mining would occur underground from a parcel owned by the company next to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.
Pepin says the project affects a very small portion of DNR-managed land. He says the vast majority of the park, including the Presque Isle River, will not be affected by the exploration activity. The drilling activity is about three miles from Lake Superior.
More information is here.