Mining Hearing in Hurley, Wis. Mostly Draws Opponents

Posted at: 08/15/2013 4:52 PM | Updated at: 08/15/2013 6:10 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
manderson@wdio.com

Hundreds of people are weighing in on the proposed mine in Wisconsin's Penokee Hills. The DNR held a hearing about Gogebic Taconite's mining plans Thursday.

"Don't ever think that mining is going to be the end to your economic problems because we have a history," said one speaker.

For 10 hours the DNR will hear public comments regarding G-Tac's bulk sampling proposal and their preapplication notice to mine.

After finishing their first phase of core sampling this summer, G-Tac spokesperson Bob Seitz said bulk sampling will allow them to get a better idea of what the rock is made of and what machinery they would need. He said the process of removing approximately 4,000 tons of rock will take five weeks.

Seitz called the Thursday hearing an "opponent's forum."

"There are a lot of folks...that tell us they're strongly in support but they don't like to come out here and have this controversy," said Seitz.

A vast majority of those at the podium spoke out against the mine. Many of their concerns were environmental.

"You know, there is no do-over on this," said Allie Raven of Iron River. "You can't experiment on things as delicate as the water table."

But that didn't stop proponents of the mine from speaking. Steve Schurtter of Montreal said a mine would bring jobs.

"I'd like my neighbor boy to have a job when he gets out of high school, simple as that," said Schurtter.

The DNR is taking public comments on the bulk sampling activity through September 3rd. They will make a decision within 60 days.

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