Penokee Mine

Sticking It Out for the Winter
5:56 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

LCO Harvest Camp Giving Thanks

Above: the Harvest Camp has been going strong through spring and summer.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp is celebrating a feast day Thursday.  

The camp formed in the spring of this year in response to a proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills.  

Five people are spending the winter at the camp…which has already seen more than a foot of snow.  Spokesman Paul DeMain says the camp has visitors every day, and several dozen people could attend the feast.                       

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No Photos, Please
4:00 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Up Close: Iron Mining in the Upper Peninsula

Iron pellets from Empire and Tilden mines is sent to the Marquette Ore Docks on Lake Superior.
Credit P. Gordon / http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgordon/5264273065/sizes/m/in/photolist-92bLYH/

Controversy continues over a proposed iron mine in Iron and Ashland counties.  

While Wisconsin hasn’t seen an open pit mine in a while, some neighboring states have.  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to a pair of open pit iron mines that have been operating for several decades.   

Standing on the edge of Empire Mine is like looking into an amphitheater far too big for any performance.  It’s a mile wide and a mile across.  1200 feet deep.  I start wondering how many swimming pools it would take to fill it. 

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A Tale of Two Mines
1:33 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Mine Regulations: Not Tough Enough?

One mining specialist is questioning whether a proposed iron mine in the Penokee range has enough social support to go forward. 

John Coleman is an environmental section leader at Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, a group that helps enforce tribal treaty rights in Wisconsin.  Coleman has worked primarily on mining issues since 1994, when a mine proposed near Crandon faced tribal opposition.  

Coleman thinks state regulators aren’t as tough as they were in the nineties.

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A Closer Look at New Laws
4:25 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Mining Critics Call for Independent Testing, Scrutinize Legislation

The state’s Sierra Club is calling for independent testing of a proposed iron mine site.  The group has long been against Gogebic Taconite’s plan to mine in the Penokee Range. 

Dave Blouin is mining chair for Wisconsin’s chapter of the Sierra Club.   Blouin says recent findings of asbestos-like fibers underscore the need for watchdog testing.

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A Skeptical View
4:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Retired Mining Engineer Wary of GTac Plans

Controversy continues to simmer over a proposed iron mine in northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Range.  Gogebic Taconite is currently waiting for approval to do bulk sampling of more than 4000 tons of rock.  And the company hasn’t even begun what would likely be a multi-year permitting process to open a mine.  But one retired mining engineer is wondering if there’s enough ore to mine profitably in the first place.  

One thing is clear: Jack Parker’s career in the mining industry has given him a hefty resume in the business. 

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
12:38 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Penokee Asbestos Worries Grow

Grunerite is found in various parts of Northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The above sample was photographed at the Michigamme Mine in Marquette County.
Credit 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. 

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Neighboring Example
12:55 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Citizens Hope to Learn From Minnesota Mines

Iron County citizens are holding a forum next week. It will look at issues brought on by iron mining in Minnesota.  Organizer Terry Daulton says the guest is research scientist Nancy Schuldt water quality specialist with the Fond du Lac Tribe. 

“And she works on a lot of the issues relating to water quality and wild rice, and also potential things like mercury contamination that would affect tribal members there in Minnesota.”

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Public Access Controversy
6:00 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Managed Forest Exception Tabled For Now, But Still In the Works

Credit Mark Sadowski

A state lawmaker says he’ll keep working on a bill that would allow Gogebic Taconite to restrict public access to the site of a proposed iron mine.  Right now the area is open to public recreation under the managed forest program.  

After pulling the legislation from the Senate calendar, Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst says he’ll make revisions in hopes of getting the votes he needs.

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Harvest Camp Future Uncertain
4:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Harvest Camp Negotiations Underway

Mel Gasper oversees the Harvest Camp near the proposed Penokee Mine site.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Negotiations have begun between Iron County officials and the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp.  Tribal members and supporters set up camp in May near the site of a proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills.  

After signs that county officials planned to evict the group, the tribe asked to negotiate for a long term arrangement.  Tribal member and camp overseer Mel Gasper says he believes the conversations will be fruitful.              

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
5:55 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Mine Opponents Dominate DNR Hearing

Hundreds showed up at the DNR's public hearing on Gogebic Taconite's preapplication and bulk sampling plan.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Department of Natural Resources held its first public hearing on the Penokee Mine project Thursday.  Hundreds of people showed up in Hurley.

People came from far and wide to voice strong opinions on the proposal.  There were even a few speakers from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, and an Ashland, WI contingent actually biked the 40 miles to the hearing.  Cyclist Michael McKenna says they wanted to their voices to be heard:

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