The state's new faster permitting process for mining is being seen as Gogebic Taconite has submitted a plan defining five areas they would like to test for minerals.
The company is hoping to open a miles-long open pit mine in Iron and Ashland counties in what's known as the Penokee Hills.
DNR hydrologist Larry Lynch says the company submitted the two plans...
"....what we have to do is review the proposal and within 14 days notify the company what other permits or approvals are required in order for them to undertake that plan..."
Following the 14 day notice, the company would prepare a specific permit applications. If a general permit is requested, the DNR needs to respond in 30 days. If other permits are presented, it could be up to 60 days for the DNR to respond. Lynch says the company also submitted a pre-application notification, which Lynch says, in theory means Gogebic Taconite could submit an application to mine 12 months from now.
The additional samples are said to be needed to design the proposed project. Less than 10,000 tons of material will be removed from five sampling sites, about a half-acre each.