Iron County Extends Lease With Gogebic Taconite

Feb 24, 2015

Gogebic Taconite will continue to have access to Iron County land as it explores a possible iron mine in the Penokees.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

  Iron County has agreed to extend a lease agreement with mining company Gogebic Taconite for the next three years. The Iron County board has passed the measure by one vote.

Gogebic Taconite didn't make a $10,000 payment last month and cited budget constraints. But county board chair Joe Pinardi negotiated a plan giving GTac another year to pay.

“What we did was we gave them like a skip payment. So next year by the 26th of January of 2016, they will have to pay us $30,000 instead of $20,000.”

The full county board has now ratified that agreement by the slim margin of 8 votes to 7. Board member Vic Ouimette says he's disappointed the board refused to consider negotiating new lease terms.

“The county board tonight passed up every opportunity to go ahead and revisit this, and come up with some alternatives. And what the public needs to realize is it's the mining company that defaulted on the lease – not Iron County.”

Ouimette says the current lease doesn't give the county enough bargaining power.