Penokee Mine

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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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
2:10 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Thursday: DNR to Hear Comments on Penokee Mine

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.

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
5:13 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

GTac Mine, Bulk Sampling Proposal Up For Public Comment

The public has a chance to comment on a proposed mine in Iron County.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Members of the public have a chance to weigh in on an open pit mine proposal in Iron County next week. 

The DNR is holding an info session and public hearing on August 15th in Hurley.  Staff will provide details about Gogebic Taconite’s plan for bulk sampling, where the company would remove 4-thousand tons of rock for analysis.  DNR mining spokesperson Ann Coakley says the hearing will also cover GTac’s overall mining plan…which has been submitted to the DNR in a preapplication. 

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
4:11 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Mine Guards Removed Until Licensed

Guards carrying semi-automatic weapons have been temporarily removed from the GTac drill site.
Credit Rob Ganson

Mining company Gogebic Taconite has removed heavily armed guards stationed at its drill site in Iron County.  The move comes after revelations that the Arizona-based security company that supplied the guards is not licensed in Wisconsin. 

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
3:00 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

DNR: Mine Security Out of Its Jurisdiction

Resident Pete Rasmussen says guards were not displaying their machine guns Wednesday.
Credit Pete Rasmussen

Heavily armed and masked guards at the Gogebic Taconite mine site have raised the hackles of some Northwoods residents and lawmakers.  But state regulators with the Department of Natural Resources don’t see a problem with the new security force.  

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Penokee Hills Mining Controversy
4:04 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Armed Guards at GTAC Site Draw Ire, But Not From Lt. Governor

Shown: down the road from the mine proposed mine site near Upson, WI.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor says worker safety is a priority at the Gogebic Taconite mine site in Iron County. 

The company has drawn criticism for hiring military-style security guards armed with assault weapons to patrol the drilling area.  Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch points out GTAC is working to bring jobs to the area. 

“I think we have a duty to make sure that those folks, who are working to better that double digit unemployment rate that we talk so much about, are safe.”

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