MINOCQUA – An educational primer on mining in Wisconsin and what local municipalities can – and cannot do – in way of their mining regulations will be explained Wednesday, Jan. 24 at what’s being billed as a “Mining 101” education seminar.
The Wisconsin Towns Association together with the Wisconsin Counties Association are presenting the workshop on the state’s new mining law at Reuland’s Conference Center in Minocqua from 9am to noon (8am registrations start).
Last month, Gov. Scott Walker signed the law that lifted on what was essentially a 20-year moratorium on sulfide mining of copper, silver, gold and zinc in the state. The “Prove It First” law had required companies to provide proof a sulfide mine ran for 10 years and was closed for 10 years without polluting groundwater and surface waters with acid mine drainage. Sulfides when exposed to waste and air create sulfuric acid.
Proponents of the new law, co-authored by Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), argue new mining technology reduces that waste and in addition, the mining industry would create new, high paying jobs in Wisconsin. The Township of Lynne in Oneida County has “a 7.5 to 8 million ton massive sulfide deposit of which approximately 6 million tons is amendable to open pit extraction,” said a mining company’s survey some years ago. “Lynne is primary a zinc deposit, but also has significant concentrations of lead, copper, silver and minor gold.”
The new law doesn’t go into effect until six months after the Dec. 11th signing, which allows counties to craft their own mining regulations on non-ferrous metallic mining.
The free seminar for county and town officials features several speakers.
· Robert Lodge, UW-Eau Claire professor, will explain the geology and resources of northern Wisconsin.
· Giving an overview of recent mining legislation will be Larry Konopacki, principal attorney for Wisconsin Legislative Council;
Anna Henning, senior staff attorney for the Wisconsin Legislative Council.
Al Christianson, city administrator for Ladysmith, will give a history of the Flambeau Mine that was in operation in that community.
· Answering questions in the wrap-up portion will be attorney Andrew T. Phillips, von Briesen & Roeper, S.C., and attorney Carol Nawrocki, assistant director, Wisconsin Towns Association.
Attendance is by registration.