Public Hearing to Be Held Locally on Changes to Mining Ordinance

Jun 4, 2018

Native Copper from the Keweenaw Peninsula Michigan about 2.5 inches long.
Credit John Mortimore / Wikimedia Commons

CORRECTION: The Oneida County Planning and Development Committee is hosting a public hearing Wednesday evening at Rhinelander High School. The meeting is to gather input concerning state-mandated changes in county mining rules. Earlier we reported there would be two mining hearings, but there is only one public hearing about mining, at 6 p.m. at the high school. The other meeting is a routinely scheduled afternoon public hearing on other topics related to Oneida County Planning and Development. We regret any inconvenience.

Ahead of Oneida County's public hearing on changes to mining ordinances on Wednesday, June 6th, we're taking a look back at what happened in Marathon County last week.

The Marathon County Environmental Resources Committee took input on proposed amendments to the county's mining ordinance on Wednesday, May 30th.

Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett says they are designed to cover the sampling and exploration process and that mining is "the end game of the whole process." Corbett says the amendment would cover three different types of sampling.

“There’s exploration, which is essentially drilling for core samples," says Corbett. "There’s bulk sampling, which is going in and removing up to ten thousand tons of material for further testing. And there’s prospecting which actually involves tunneling and potentially large-scale excavation.”

Corbett says the proposed regulations are being added on with an eye towards any other potential deposits the county may have besides the one near Easton.

"We believe that there are interests that would want to come in and do the exploration piece," says Corbett. "It’s less costly for everyone involved. It’s essentially drilling for core samples to find out how far the deposit reaches and to get some sense of the nature of the ore.”

He adds that the county can't fully regulate the action, but they still need to monitor to make sure the miners are good neighbors. The Marathon County Environmental Resources Committee tabled the discussion and will re-visit the issue on Thursday, June 7th.

Building off Marathon County’s ordinances has been Oneida County. There will be a public hearing this week to take input on the proposed amendments to the mining ordinance in Oneida County, based on the contributions from consulting attorney William Scott.

The public hearing will be held by the Oneida County Planning & Development Committee on Wednesday, June 6th at 6:00pm in the Rhinelander High School Auditorium.

The proposed amendments can be found here: http://www.co.oneida.wi.gov/section.asp?linkid=1886&locid=135

Interested parties unable to attend the public hearings may send written comments.

Counties have to make official changes to the mining ordinances before a repeal of the mining moratorium goes into effect on July 1st.