Larry Lynch

The Wisconsin DNR is waiting for the next move from Gogebic Taconite, now that the company has stopped fieldwork operations for the year.

DNR hydrologist and project lead Larry Lynch says activity on the proposed mine site wrapped up last month. 

“They stopped their data collection in regard to surface monitoring, so right now there’s really nothing going on on the site.  They also stopped their road improvement work on one of the access roads.”

Gogebic Taconite has filed a request with the state to renew two exploratory drilling permits for the Penokee Hills mine site.

DNR hydrologist Larry Lynch says the company has filed paperwork to renew their exploration licenses....

" of the renewal applications included provisions to drill six more exploration bore holes on the site. We also received a revised stormwater permit application and that application is to cover road improvement on the site....."

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Gogebic Taconite has indicated it plans to drill more holes in the Penokee Range this summer, though the DNR says the company hasn’t yet applied for the needed permission.

DNR hydrologist and mining project lead Larry Lynch says the DNR must first grant a license for any exploratory drilling. 

“So in order to get that they have to give us the locations of the holes, what their target depths might be, how they intend to maintain the site, handle stormwater…basically give us a good description of what they intend to do.” 

The Wisconsin DNR has responded to Gogebic Taconite’s initial plan for an iron mine in the Penokee Range. 

The company filed its pre-application notification last June…which consisted of preliminary plans and a stated intent to file a mining permit.

The DNR has responded with a list of required permits and environmental data that the company will need to prepare. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Gogebic Taconite wants to drill more exploratory holes in the Penokee Hills this winter.  The mining company has applied for a permit to drill an additional 15 holes. 

The holes would be about 2 and a half inches in diameter, with depths ranging from 280 feet to almost 1500.   GTac drilled eight similar holes last summer.    DNR mining project lead Larry Lynch says these holes would be in different areas of the Penokee Range.

Leon Hupperichs

Asbestos found in rock near a proposed iron mine is raising questions about mine safety, especially for workers.  

A Northland College professor says he found a mineral called grunerite sandwiched between layers of iron ore. 

Geoscience Professor Tom Fitz says grunerite does not always take the form of the long slender fibers that characterize asbestos.  But he says in this case, it does. 

The public has its first chance to share opinions with the Department of Natural Resources on the Gogebic Taconite mine proposal.  The DNR is holding a hearing Thursday at Hurley High School, from 10 am until 8 pm.  DNR Hydrologist Larry Lynch says DNR officials are hoping for feeback on the specifics of GTac’s plan for bulk sampling and testing of the proposed mine site in Iron and Ashland Counties.  The public can also comment on the preapplication for mining filed by GTac - the first step in the permitting process.