Penokee Mine

Wide-Ranging Panel
10:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Science on Tap to Host Mining Forum

The popular science conversation series Science on Tap takes a different approach this week in tackling a controversial topic.  Instead of hosting one speaker at a brewpub, it’s assembled a panel at a large venue to discuss the proposed iron mine in the Penokee Hills. 

Organizer Tim Kratz says since the program began, people have been asking for a program about the Penokee Mine. 

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License Required to Bore Holes
4:33 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Gogebic Taconite Plans More Drilling, Data Collection in Penokees

Gogebic Taconite is working to collect environmental baseline data at the site of a proposed iron mine.
Credit 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.” 

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Year-Round Presence
4:00 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Harvest Camp Turns One

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp is moving to a nearby location after its first year of existence.
Credit Monie Shackleford / WXPR News

The Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp celebrated its one-year anniversary this weekend.  

On Saturday, April 26th, a group of about thirty people gathered in Iron County to feast on pancakes and locally produced maple syrup they call “Penokee Gold.”   

Paula Mohan came from Madison for the event.

“I wanted to come for the pancakes and the Penokee Gold and all the other food and the fact that it is the one year anniversary," Mohan said. "I was last here in February and it’s kind of nice to be here because it is not twenty below and there are no bugs yet."

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County Won't Budge on Camping Limit
3:48 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Iron County Votes to Evict Harvest Camp

The Harvest Camp, or Harvest Education Learning Project, has been in existence since last spring.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The Iron County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to close the Lac Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp Thursday night, saying residents are violating a 14-day camping limit on county forest land. 

About 30 people attended the meeting, most speaking in support of what’s officially called the Harvest Education Learning Project, or HELP Village.  An hour of public comment was followed by an hour in closed session, where county supervisors consulted with legal counsel.  A motion to close the camp passed 13 votes to 0, with two members absent. 

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Response to Preapplication
2:22 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

DNR Outlines Permit Requirements for GTac Mine

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. 

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Public Access Controversy
5:31 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Activists Test Limits of 600' Restricted Zone

Credit Andy Arthur

Groups of snowshoers continue to traverse areas where Gogebic Taconite is drilling and sampling.  

A new law forbids the public from coming within 600 feet of equipment and roads used for iron mining.   But those opposed to the measure say it’s designed to hide environmental damage from the public. 

Paul DeMain organized a recent trip to the Tyler Forks.  He says some activists are hoping for a citation, in hopes of challenging the law in court.

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Fifteen Extra Holes
3:56 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

GTac Applies for More Exploratory Drilling

Gogebic Taconite has proposed drilling 15 exploratory holes in Iron and Ashland counties.
Credit 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.

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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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