Gogebic Taconite could begin bulk sampling in the Penokee Range at any time. The DNR has finished reviewing the sampling plan and has no further questions or requirements.
GTac’s original plan involved building a new road to provide access to some of the sites. DNR mining project lead Larry Lynch says the company submitted a revised plan last week, since frozen roads make that access easier.
“The existing roads are in good enough shape that they could travel on those roads for purposes of bulk sampling, without significant sedimentation. The roads that they’re proposing to use in normal conditions are quite soft.
An earlier plan required a stormwater permit from the DNR. That has been issued, but is no longer necessary under the new approach.
Gogebic Taconite says it’s not planning to do any blasting, and will remove around 2400 tons of rock as opposed to an earlier estimate of 4000.
“And what changed was originally they had proposed 5 sites, with 800 tons per site. Now they’re down to three sites, so again at 800 tons per site that’s 2400 tons.”
Gogebic Taconite will eventually disclose its findings as a result of the sampling, including potential data on asbestiform minerals. But that information won’t become public until the company applies for a mining permit further down the road.