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Mining Company Completes Exploration in Porkies

Winter drilling at a site near Gogebic Co. Road 519 is shown in mid-February 2018. Winter drilling at a site near Gogebic Co. Road 519 is shown in mid-February 2018. |  Photo: Copperwood Mining via Mich. DNR

Created: April 11, 2018 05:47 PM

A copper mining company has wrapped up exploratory drilling on the edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

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Copperwood Resources, a subsidiary of Highland Copper, drilled holes over the past two winters on the park's far western edge in Gogebic County. This winter's drilling included six holes within the park boundary, three of which are in County Road 519 right-of-way, and two holes just west of the park boundary on property owned by Copperwood.

The information gathered during the drilling will be used as Copperwood studies the feasibility of mining in the area. The study is scheduled to be completed this summer.

Copperwood already obtained major permits for mining west of the park in 2012 and 2013, and the company's website says the project is in the final feasibility stage. Potential mining of minerals under the park surface would require an amendment to Copperwood's existing permit and a regulatory process through the Department of Environmental Quality.

According to the DNR, if Copperwood decides to mine in the area, the copper deposit would be accessed from outside the park boundary without disturbing the surface. The area is not considered to be a wilderness section of the park and has had past logging and a railroad activity.

Permits for the drilling included several provisions to protect land surface features. Park managers visited the site after drilling was completed, and DNR Parks western U.P. district supervisor Doug Rich said all of the stipulations in the use permit were followed.

The holes ranged in depth from 768 feet to 1,298 feet and were cemented once the drilling was complete. Reseeding is planned after the ground has thawed.

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