Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Controversial plan for gold/copper/zinc mine in U.P. of Mich. gets state OK; needs EPA approval

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel map
Aquila Resources announced last week that it has received two state permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its gold, zinc and copper Back Forty Project in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, Molly Thekan reports for WLUC in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. "The mine permit application included Aquila's plan for mining, management of tailings and waste rock, reclamation, monitoring, contingency plan and plan for financial assurance."

Native American tribes have protested the proposed mine, saying it is located on sacred ground, Brian Bienkowski reports for Environmental Health News. "The open pit gold, zinc and copper mine would be near tribal burial sites and centuries old raised garden beds along the Menominee River, the center of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin's creation story."

"Back Forty has been in the works for more than a decade," Bienkowski writes. "The mine would cover about 83 acres near the headwaters of the Menominee River." Canada-based Aquila "estimates the mine will yield 532,000 ounces of gold, 721 million pounds of zinc, 74 millions pounds of copper, 4.6 million ounces of silver and 21 million pounds of lead—metals used in many modern-day conveniences."

Joe Maki, head of the state mining division, said the operation still needs "two necessary permits before any mining begins: the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit and a wetlands permits," Bienkowski writes. "The NPDES permit goes through the Environmental Protection Agency and it’s unclear when it will go through, Maki said."

This item was first posted Jan. 3 but was reposted as part of overcoming a technical issue.

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