At the Bottom of the Eagle Mining Venture: A very rich orebody, politics, lies, and a gigantic fraud

By Jack Parker, mine engineer and geologist | March 17th, 2014

The presence of an extremely rich orebody has been proven by thousands of feet of diamond drilling. Of that there is no doubt. An early estimate for the value of the minerals contained was around 4.7 billion dollars.

Kennecott presented their application for permits to mine in 2006. Copies of the document are available. Make sure that you do not get a modified version. With Stan Vitton, Mining Professor at MTU, I, Jack Parker, Mining Engineer and Geologist (resume on-line) was hired by National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to evaluate and report on the mining, geological and rock mechanics sections of the application.

Within a few weeks we recommended that the application be returned to sender as unacceptable. We could not believe that it had been prepared and proffered by professionals. It had not even been proofed for typos. Technically it was incomplete and incompetent, as if prepared by high school students. The regulating agency, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), did not reject it, despite a similar evaluation by their hired expert, David Sainsbury, of international consulting firm Itasca, who summed up by saying that the conclusions in the application were not supported by fact.

Stan and I continued to evaluate the proposed Eagle project after the funding had run out – I still do, after eight years. Within a year we had clear proof that the original data from the diamond-drilling had been tampered with, rather crudely, before submitting to mine designers and planners – to make the rocks and the plan look good and acceptable. The truth is that if the data input is corrected, the same plan shows a safety factor lower than 1.0, indicating probably instability of the mine structure as planned.

Instability, hence endangerment to life and limb and property and environment, is obviously not acceptable, yet MDEQ does not recognize it. They ignore it.

There is no provision for simply erasing errors and doing things differently. Part 632, the legislation governing nonferrous mining in Michigan, states that a person presenting false information in the permitting process, or knowingly accepting it, is a felon and should be prosecuted accordingly. Amendments can be submitted but they must be processed thru the initial permitting procedures – including public input.

MDEQ accepts “amendments” without public input. The Humboldt Mill must be full of them.
A legal problem is that – not many years ago – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delegated jurisdiction on mining regulations to MDEQ – and MDEQ now finds themselves inextricably in bed with Kennecott and their successors – as felons. I have pursued the matter with all offices of justice from local cops and all the way to the US Attorney General, and all decline to prosecute this 4.7 billion dollar fraud – “having no jurisdiction.” More clever politics.

The longer the process is drawn out – the worse it gets. As far as I am concerned the details, such as water quality “exceedances”, will go away. At present they constitute a mild digression helpful to the criminals.

All I ask is that we check the application with a group of mining professionals, declare it illegal and fraudulent, then enforce the Michigan law – which is also available online.
Check page 14 (4) of Part 632.

The Bailing-out of BP: Implications for the Upper Great Lakes

By  Elanne Palcich
Published: June 7, 2010 Posted in: Mining Opinion

In his May 27 Press Conference, President Obama stated that BP Oil (British Petroleum) will be totally responsible for all clean up in the Gulf oil spill.

At the same time, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was told that the state would have to pay to construct sand breaks around barrier islands in an attempt to prevent oil contamination.    According to the Federal government, sand breaks might not prove effective and would be considered experimental.

In the meantime, members of Congress who feel obligated to oil interests are seeking legislation to exempt BP from costs.   Why not put another bail out on the taxpayers’ backs?

Recently Kevin Rudd, prime minister of Australia, decided enough was enough.  Australia is now placing a 40% commodity tax on minerals that are being mined in Australia by companies such as Rio Tinto and exported to China.  Australia has become a minerals outpost, feeding China’s appetite for metals in its attempts to industrialize.

So how long will it take Michigan and Minnesota to wake up?  Metallic sulfide mining cannot be done in a wetland environment without polluting the watershed for generations to come.  These metals will be mined by mining conglomerates such as Rio Tinto and shipped to China.

BP’s clean-up efforts, if the problem wasn’t so serious, could be part of a cartoon.  At one point, two robotic machines even bumped heads.   The best technology available is not able to stop the oil leak and the best minds available have not been able to come up with an answer.

What does this portend for the future if metallic sulfide mining is permitted based upon political expediency and company propaganda, rather than the actual record left behind at mine sites?

How can we, as ordinary citizens, produce the change we wish to see?  How can we create a more just society, make our livings based upon right livelihood, and preserve the sacredness and sustainability of our land?  At this season of memorializing, how do we make a stand?

Gulf spill holds lesson

By U. S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Michigan)

wmangreatlakes@lists.onenw.org 6/26/2010

WASHINGTON, D. C. — It is difficult to think of northern Michigan without also thinking about the Great Lakes. These waters are vital to our economy and are relied upon by 45 million people for drinking water, fishing, recreation, agriculture, industry and shipping.

That is why, in 2005, I fought to pass a federal ban on oil and gas drilling in and under our Great Lakes. As we are witnessing right now in the Gulf of Mexico, oil spills know no boundaries. Without a federal policy, all of the Great Lakes states could have different laws on drilling in our shared waters, putting us all at risk. As the tragedy in the Gulf unfolds, the importance of this ban on drilling in the Great Lakes takes on a greater significance.

In my investigations as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, we have uncovered thousands of pages of documents showing BP was willing to cut corners on safety in order to save time and money — this despite the fact that BP’s own engineers described the well as a “nightmare well.”

This mismanagement has continued in BP’s response to contain the leak and clean up the spilled oil. The latest report estimates 35,000 to 65,000 barrels of oil are leaking into the Gulf daily — up to 12 times more than BP’s original estimate of 5,000 barrels a day. Even BP admits the earliest the spill will be stopped is August when drilling of relief wells is completed. In the meantime oil continues to flow, contaminating marshlands and beaches and killing the fish and seafood that much of the Gulf’s economy depends on.

While drilling for oil and gas is banned in the Great Lakes, other actions still threaten our waters. Mining has been done safely to the benefit of the Upper Peninsula economy for generations, but the sulfide mine proposed in Marquette County by the Kennecott Minerals Company raises concerns that have yet to be adequately addressed.

Both BP and Kennecott’s parent company, London-based Rio Tinto, have earned reputations for their willingness to cut corners on safety and environmental safeguards to improve their bottom lines.

BP reached an agreement with the President to set up an independent escrow fund to ensure the residents of the Gulf receive the claims they deserve in a timely manner. I remain concerned that Kennecott’s $17 million assurance bond does not provide nearly enough funding to address potential contamination that may continue years after Kennecott leaves the U.P. Like BP, Kennecott — not the taxpayers — should be responsible for the cost of cleaning up any pollution they create.

Unfortunately Michigan’s mining laws fall short of holding Kennecott accountable. State permits were approved without requiring an Environmental Impact Statement and without independent baseline hydrological and geological studies. Because there is no evidence of the environment’s condition before Kennecott starts mining, there is no way to prove what damage they cause.

We should heed the lessons we have learned from the Gulf spill. Weak state regulations in place for sulfide mining are worthless without proper enforcement. Given Michigan’s continuing budget problems, it seems unlikely the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment will have adequate resources to ensure Kennecott is complying with safety and environmental standards. Kennecott should be responsible for providing the state with the funding needed for these inspectors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce by the end of the month whether federal permits are necessary for the mine to move forward. Kennecott deserves a timely answer from the EPA just as the people of Michigan deserve stronger safeguards and greater financial assurances from Kennecott.

Oil companies have been engaged in deepwater drilling for 30 years, yet they have been completely unprepared to handle a worst-case scenario. Sulfide mining has never been done — much less done safely — in our region. I have little confidence that the proper precautions and contingency plans are in place to prevent contamination of our streams, rivers and the Great Lakes. The financial protections put in place for taxpayers are symbolic at best. As we have seen in the Gulf spill, if we wait until a problem occurs to find a solution it is already too late.

State has dwindling resources to regulate Kennecott mine

Mining expert says flawed design will lead to safety problems

By EARTHA JANE MELZER 7/14/10 1:53 PM

In the wake of the EPA’s decision that no federal permit is necessary for a controversial new nickel sulfide mine to be located on state land near Lake Superior, state officials and mining experts are questioning the state’s ability to adequately regulate the project on its own.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), the outgoing congressman for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, recently warned that Michigan is not prepared to regulate Kennecott’s mining project. Stupak said that Kennecott’s parent company Rio Tinto, is known for cutting corners on environmental and safety matters and that a $17 million assurance bond put up by the company would not be enough to deal with damage that the mine could create.

The decision that the company does not require a federal permit for its wastewater system means that the responsibility for regulating operations at this massive project falls entirely to the state.

Staff and funding for environmental programs, however, have taken heavy cuts in recent years and this year’s merging of the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Natural Resources, together with more cuts scheduled for next year’s budget, is expected to further erode the capacity of the state to enforce regulations that protect against environmental degradation.

According to state Department of Natural Resources and Environment spokesman Bob McCann, there are no minimum requirements for inspections by regulators and it will be lucky if officials manage to visit the mine once a year.

Rio Tinto is expected to invest $469 million to develop the mine which is expected to produce around 30,000 tons of nickel and copper per year for the next six years.

State Rep. Gary McDowell (D-Rudyard) — a candidate for Congress in Stupak’s district — suggested that because of the lucrative nature of the operation Kennecott would be willing to pay for needed regulation by the state.

“I believe that they want those metals badly enough that they will pay for that,” he said.

But according to McCann of the DNRE, there are no provisions in state law that would allow for that arrangement.

Michigan has required Kennecott to set aside $17 million to cover the costs of closing the mine in the event that the company ceases operations before the site is returned to its previous state.

This money is not expected to cover the costs of repairing any environmental damages that may occur during the operation of the mine, McCann said. These expenses the state would have to pursue separately through legal action.

Opponents of the mine argue that the ground and surface water contamination is likely to result from Kennecott’s activities and that the state could be stuck with a decades-long cleanup with costs that could range into the billions.

Mining consultant Jack Parker says that environmental damage is likely if the mine is constructed as designed.  Parker, who holds geology and engineering degrees from Michigan Technical University and has spent several decades working in about 500 mines across the U.S. and abroad, says that flaws in the analysis of the mine’s geology means that the current design is vulnerable to collapse.

“The mine will be unstable,“ he said. “People could get hurt.”

If the mine collapses then the surface is likely to collapse and that would upset the drainage, he said. One of the reaches of the Salmon Trout River comes close to the mine and a collapse could potentially destroy parts of this tributary to nearby Lake Superior.

Parker also warned that the state does not have inspectors with the experience necessary to evaluate the plans for the Kennecott mine and that Michigan has not followed state law by requiring that mine operations consider and limit the impact of blasting on area fish populations.

Kennecott has also failed to conform with state rules by demonstrating that their groundwater discharge system will work as planned, Parker claimed.

Kennecott’s operations have resulted in water contamination elsewhere

In Utah’s western Salt Lake Valley, where another Kennecott subsidiary is involved in copper mining, operations have resulted in groundwater contamination plumes that cover 70 square miles and impact the drinking water of several communities with sulfate, lead, arsenic, cadmium, fluoride, aluminum and nickel.

Douglas Bacon, a manager with Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Department of Environmental Response and Remediation, has worked on supervising clean up of the mining area for the last 12 years.

“In the state’s opinion since 1995 Kennecott has been cooperating with remediation plans supervised by state and federal government,” Bacon said.

Kennecott, the state of Utah and the EPA have entered into a cleanup agreement under federal Superfund law and the company is carrying out and funding cleanup activities.

It took nine years of work by the state to get to this point, however.

Utah first filed suit against Kennecott in 1986 and was unable to get the company to agree to address its pollution until the federal government stepped in with threats of enforcement action.

Jon Cherry, who is now working to develop Kennecott’s nickel mine in the Upper Peninsula as general manager of Kennecott Eagle Minerals, previously worked on the Utah mine — where he coordinated cleanup response plans with the EPA.

In light of this history, opponents of the new UP mine have not yet given up on stopping the project. They have filed suit in circuit court in Washtenaw county, arguing that the permits were issued in violation of state mining law.

Midwest Mining Rush Threatens Water, Wildlife and Ultimately Humans

The Great Lakes region is stormy, with harsh, blizzard-laden winters. These conditions do not bode well for preventing a dynamic and noxious reaction to metallic sulfide mining.

from alternet.org

November 5, 2010

Some of this nation’s most pristine ancient forests, glacial wetlands and fresh water lakes are under threat from large, multinational mining companies that plan to extract billions of dollars in copper and nickel using methods untested in a water-rich environment. The Great Lakes Basin — America’s largest supply of surface fresh water — faces the duel dangers of increasing prices for industrial metals and a failing economy in desperate need of good paying jobs. These economic realities have weakened efforts to protect the region.

In the upper Midwest, mining companies estimate there is the largest deposit of copper, nickel and precious stones in North America encased in nearly 5 billion tons of low-grade rock. The span of sulfide ore that harbors these vast amounts of metals and stones runs from the tip of Lake Superior’s Duluth Complex through Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. It borders the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. It is underneath Wisconsin’s acres of wild rice and Native American territorial lands and extends to Michigan’s storied Upper Peninsula and then into Ontario, Canada. This rock, when exposed to air and water, sparks a toxic reaction that creates sulfuric acid.

Because the region suffers some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, there is enormous pressure to let the mining companies come. While the region has been host to centuries of traditional mining, metallic sulfide mining is very different. The process involves removing one percent of metals from a sulfide ore body and discarding 99 percent of the remaining material. One of the best ways to describe this type of mining is to imagine traditional mining as digging the chocolate chips out of a cookie, while sulfide metal mining is more akin to extracting the sugar out of the cookie. And while that might work in arid Nevada, experts contend it is unlikely to have as good an outcome in the Great Lakes Basin, a region with the nation’s largest concentration of surface fresh water.

“All the new mines that are proposed in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are sulfide mines. They are after the sulfides,” explains Stratus Consulting scientist Ann Maest, Ph.D., whose research found that 90 percent of the time “when you have a combination of sulfide mining and water resources there is a high likelihood you will have water quality problems.” Maest is an aqueous geochemist who studies water chemistry at mining and industrial sites.

There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that has not polluted water resources where water was present, according to opponents of proposed mines in all three states. Iron mining that has defined the region for more than a century adheres to a natural process where the taconite iron is bonded to oxide ores, whereas sulfide ore is bonded with copper and nickel. If the excavated ore, waste rock or pit walls are exposed to moisture and air, a sulfuric acid solution is created and causes acid drainage — think: battery acid — and while this alone is dangerous when it enters the water system, it also dissolves heavy metals that are present in the rock such as lead, zinc, copper, manganese, arsenic and mercury and carries them into the ground and surface water requiring perpetual treatment over centuries. This metal load causes more environmental damage and is of greater concern than the acid drainage, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken notice and expressed concerns because mines are not routinely required to test waste rock and tailings for acid rock drainage which can happen at any time throughout the life of the mine, including years after a mine closes. “Once acid rock drainage begins, the chemical phenomena continue for extremely long periods of time. Some of the most problematic mine sites on the Superfund’s National Priorities List are sites where acid rock drainage has taken place,” according to an EPA report from 1997 on the risks posed by Bevill wastes, certain mineral and mining wastes exempt from hazardous waste designation.

When acid reaches the water table or nearby streams, it changes the pH balance and harms and often kills aquatic life, animals, plants, and, ultimately, has the potential to harm people. There is a secondary problem. When the ore is processed — crushed and ground — it creates tailings (a slurry) and these tailings are pumped to a settling pond. The tailings in this slurry will have the same reaction to water and air creating a toxic slush and, while the ponds are often lined, they just as often leak. (Kennecott Utah Copper’s lined tailings pond near Salt Lake, Utah, failed and ended up contaminating the groundwater for 70 square miles impacting the drinking water of a number of communities.) The Great Lakes region is known for being dark and stormy. It has harsh, blizzard-laden winters. These conditions do not bode well for preventing a dynamic and noxious reaction to metallic sulfide mining.

“The formation of mine acid drainage and the contaminants associated with it has been described by some as the largest environmental problem facing the U.S. mining industry,” wrote Amy Boulanger and Alexandra Gorman in their 2004 report: Hard Rock Mining: Risks to Community Health.

Because no federal law forces mining companies to properly manage sulfide ore mining hazardous waste, large foreign conglomerates proposing this type of mining in the region have only to deal with state laws and state agents. The mining industry believes states are the best guardian of their own resources. They add that no state would issue permits to corporations applying to pollute the environment.

“Michigan and other Great Lakes states residents can be assured that only mining proposals that demonstrate compliance with applicable laws and regulations will receive their permits,” explains Laura Skaer, Executive Director of the Northwest Mining Association (NWMA).

US EPA Mining Information

$155 million and Ten Years Later Superfund Still Trying to Clean Up Cyanide Contamination Caused by Colorado Mine

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1 – The US EPA ranking of metallic mineral mining as our nation’s top producer of toxic pollution.
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In the 1980s, the Summitville Consolidated Mining Company, Inc. began large-scale surface gold mining at the now abandoned Summitville Mine, located in the southwestern mountains of Colorado. The heap-leach process was used, which involved sprinkling a sodium-cyanide solution onto a stack of crushed gold-bearing ore. The cyanide solution percolated down through the ore and was ultimately pumped to a facility that removed the gold. Mine water laden with cyanide, acid, and metals including aluminum, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc, leaked into the headwaters of the Alamosa River, destroying aquatic life and seriously threatening the irrigated farmland downstream.

The State of Colorado, citizens of San Luis Valley, and the U.S. EPA have been working tirelessly since 1994 to clean up the contaminated site of this gold mine. The majority of the cleanup costs are being paid by the EPA Superfund program and the State of Colorado.

pondWHO WILL PAY THE COST OF SUCH CONTAMINATION FROM A MINE IN YOUR AREA?

YOU WILL!

HELP STOP SUCH A MINE FROM BEING CONSTRUCTED ON THE BANKS OF THE MENOMINEE RIVER!

For information directly from the United State Environmental Protection Agency regarding the Summitville Mine please visit the following link:

http://www.epa.gov/Region8/superfund/sites/co/sville.html

Samples Of Mining Problems

February 2000, Massive Cyanide Spill At GOLD MINE Contaminates Hungarian and Romanian Rivers

Cyanide levels rose to an estimated 700 times the normal level in the Tiszer River, when a tailings dam from a local mining company broke from heavy rains and snow falls. The broken dam released cyanide, heavy metals and tailings into the river and its upper tributaries, effecting over 50 miles of river, killing an estimated 80% of all life in the river, including fish, mussels, water snails, and lower invertebrate life. The surrounding lands and riverbanks were effected as well, killing birds, foxes, boars, and other animals. The dead fish and animal corpses were ultimately consumed by other animals including eagles and other birds of prey, spreading the contamination even further.

This deadly spill (the cyanide at its source coming from the Aurul Gold mine, 50% of which is owned by Esmeralda, an Australian-based exploration company) left five cities and numerous towns without drinking water until the cyanide dissipated. This catastrophic contamination affected the drinking water of millions of people. The local governments feared that the mining company would go bankrupt leaving the mess and expense to be handled by the local communities, a common occurrence after such a spill.

Indeed, the chairman of the Aurul gold mine initially denied any responsibility for the environmental catastrophe, stating that there were no links between the death of the wildlife and the spill. Later, however, the company admitted that there were flaws in the dam, which was supposed to have been designed to withstand a 100-year flood. The dam failed in a circumstance more similar to only a 50-year flood. The company later blamed the subcontractor who constructed the dam, claiming that the footings were inadequate and that they were responsible for the damages.

85% of all Gold is processed using Cyanide

DON’T LET SUCH A CATASTROPHE BE EVEN A REMOTE POSSIBILITY FOR OUR PRISTINE WATERWAYS— HELP STOP SUCH A MINE FROM BEING CONSTRUCTED ON THE BANKS OF THE MENOMINEE RIVER!


Mercury Contamination from Local Mine Catastrophic for Lake and Surrounding Wildlife

For fifteen years the fish in Deer Lake have been inedible due to exceedingly high levels of mercury caused in part by the nearby Ropes Gold Mine. There has been a ban on fish consumption since 1981.

In 1981 fish in Deer Lake, a 906 acre impoundment in central Marquette County near Ishpeming in the southeastern upper peninsula of Michigan, were discovered to have concentrations of mercury that exceeded the 1.5 mg “ban on total consumption: by the Michigan Department of Public Health. The mercury in the fish in Deer Lake far exceeded the mercury found in fish from similar lakes at this time. Two unusual industrial additions of mercury to this area included the processing of gold ore from the Ropes Gold Mine, beginning in the 1880s, and the assaying test that was conducted on ore samples from a Laboratory of Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company (CCIC). The wastewater from the CCIC lab went into the municipal sewage of Ishpeming, which flowed into Carp Creek and then into Deer Lake.

Due to these high levels of mercury, local wildlife has been affected as well. Eagles that have high concentrations of mercury produce eggs that seldom hatch.

The Menominee River is number 7 on a list of the top 10 most Mercury contaminated bodies of water in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. How much can it take before we can no longer eat the fish or swim in our river?


The area being explored now is a massive sulphide deposit. Sulphide mining is new to Michigan but has had devastating effects in the eastern part of our country for centuries.

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Information above was taken from the West Virginia web page from the university of West Virginia.http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/landrec/acidmine.htm. As you can see AMD is responsible for destroying all fish life in 2,219 miles of streams and is responsible for impacting fish life in an additional 2,596 miles of streams. It is estimated that it will cost over fifteen billion dollars in Pennsylvania alone to solve the acid mine drainage problem caused by mining.

What is Acid Mine Drainage

Acid Mine Drainage

Think About It: Of the estimated 500,000 abandoned mines in the western United States, some dating back to the late 19th century, many continue to pollute today.[1] According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stream reaches in the headwaters of more than 40 percent of western watersheds are contaminated by mining, much of it related to acid mine drainage.[2] And acid mine drainage is still seeping from mines in Europe that were worked by Romans prior to A.D. 476.[3] Even modern mines pose a threat. For example, a proposed new gold mine project in Nevada, the Phoenix Mine, could produce acid mine drainage for as long as 10,000 years.[4]

Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is currently the main pollutant of surface water in the mid-Atlantic
Region.  AMD is caused when water flows over or through sulfur-bearing materials forming solutions of net acidity.  AMD comes mainly from abandoned coal mines and currently active mining.  AMD degrades more than 4,500 streams miles in the mid-Atlantic region with the loss of aquatic life, and restricts stream use for recreation, public drinking water and industrial water supplies.

What is Mine Drainage?

  • Mine drainage is metal-rich water formed from chemical reaction between water and rocks containing sulfur-bearing minerals.
  • The runoff formed is usually acidic and frequently comes from areas where ore or coal mining activities have exposed rocks containing pyrite, a sulfur-bearing mineral.
  • Metal-rich drainage can also occur in mineralized areas that have not been mined.

How does Mine Drainage Occur?

  • Mine drainage is formed when pyrite, an iron sulfide, is exposed and reacts with air and water to form sulfuric acid and dissolved iron.
  • Some or all of this iron can precipitate to form the red, orange, or yellow sediments in the bottom of streams containing mine drainage.
  • The acid runoff further dissolves heavy metals such as cooper, lead, mercury into ground or surface water.
  • The rate and degree by which acid-mine drainage proceeds can be increased by the action of certain bacteria.

Problems Associated with Mine Drainage

  • Contaminate drinking water
  • Disrupted growth and reproduction of aquatic plants and animals
  • Corroding effects of acid on parts of infrastructure such as bridges

Acid Mine Drainage

  • Mines built as early as the 1800’s were developed in a manner which utilized gravity drainage, to avoid excessive water accumulation in the mines
  • As a result, water polluted by acid, iron, sulfur and aluminum drained away from the mines and into streams

Results of Acid Mine Drainage

  • Acid mine drainage is one of Region 3 most serious water pollution problems
  • It is not only an ecological concern to the states but an economic concern as well

Economic Concerns Resulting from Acid Mine Drainage

  • A region impacted by acid mine drainage often has a decline in valued recreational fish species such as trout as well as a general decline in outdoor recreation and tourism along with contamination of groundwater drinking supplies

Additional Information

  • For additional information regarding information on this page contact Dan Sweeney at 215-814-5731
  • US EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division No point Source Pollution Program
  • Public Information Hotline – 800-438-2474

Status of Potential Mining on the Menominee River

Last Updated: June 23, 2008

1. A mineral exploration company* has secured more than 60,000 acres of mineral rights in Menominee County, MI and over 41,000 acres of mineral rights in Marinette County, WI.  This company has drilled numerous test sites and has been encouraged with their findings.*  In trying to seek investors for a full-fledged mining operation, the exploration company characterized their findings as a “massive deposit.”  The “hot bed” of their activity, to date, has been very near the Menominee River and Shakey Lakes, about 8 miles West of Stephenson, MI and a few miles upstream of Wausaukee, WI. In 2007, after five years of exploration, local exploration interests began drilling additional test holes in an effort to further identify the ore body and enhance their position with potential investors.

2.  Michigan’s DNR and DEQ are seeking to “provide an opportunity for mining.”  The Michigan DNR has leased more than 6000 acres of mineral rights (under public and privately owned lands) to the mineral exploration company.  Wisconsin’s DNR is taking a “wait and see” approach on this issue. The DNR and DEQ have indicated that they can only enforce existing laws.  For this reason, it is vitally important citizens contact their elected officials and continue to push for environmentally responsible legislation and the enforcement of existing laws. (We must not allow these laws to be put on the shelf and ignored.).

3.  Lake Township in Menominee County, MI, has been developing zoning in an effort to regulate potential mining operations.  Menominee County, MI, and Marinette County, WI, have, to date, taken no actions to protect their citizens from the hazards of a potential metallic mineral mine.
 
 *(A recent release from Aquila Resources, Inc., stated, “Part 632 provides framework for development of mineral resources such as the Back Forty Project and Aquila Resources, has initiated baseline environmental monitoring of water, wetlands, air, plants, animals and fisheries in the project area as a precedent to appyling for a mining permit under the statute.”)


Michigan Law (Part 632 Act 451) regulates Metallic Mineral Mining.  Access SAVE THE WILD U. P. atwww.savethewildup.org (click on media, then click on – fact sheets) for information on some of the shortcomings in this legislation.

Chronological History Of Events

  • Well Driller discovers Sulfide deposit while drilling private well.
  • Well Driller lays claims to thousands of acres of mineral rights in both Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • Enco (American Copper and Nickel) finances initial drilling to the reported sum of $ 5,000,000.00
  • Enco Pulls out for “Business Reasons”

Possible Reasons:

  • Adjacent to Natural Area, on the Menominee River with hundreds of millions of dollars of property valuesbetween location and Green Bay,
  • Proximity to Shakey Lakes,
  • Located on a Boundy Water shared with Wisconsin,
  • Extensive Water Shed shared by many surrounding communities,
  • Indian Burial Grounds on acquired properties,
  • Endangered Species located in immediate area,
  • Local Zoning Restrictions,
  • Does not make business sense to them
  • MPC forms new LLC , Aquila Resources and attempts to sell stock in Canada without success!
  • MPC forms New Partnership and new LLC JML Resources and again tries to sell stock in Canada.