Officials with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that Gogebic Taconite LLC has submitted an application for a permit to mine iron ore in northern Wisconsin.
Last week the company, also known as G Tac, submitted a new license application, which proposes fewer exploration drilling sites than an earlier application, which the company withdrew in favor of the new application.
The company had filed on May 9 for an exploration license then withdrew that to file a new one on May 16, according to agency officials.
Gogebic Taconite is the company that wanted to develop an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin last year, until a mining reform law failed to pass on a margin of one vote in the state legislature.
When lawmakers passed virtually the same legislation this year and it became law, the company renewed its interest in mining in the Penokee Range in Ashland and Iron counties. Opponents of the legislation said it weakens environmental protections related to mining in the state.
Tribal opponents said it would damage their ancestral lands and tailings from the large open pit mine could pollute the rivers that feed their tribal wild rice beds. Indian opponents have threatened to sue and are virtually certain to fight the next battle in court.
The Penokee/Gogebic deposit is generally defined as the 21-mile western end of the 60-mile long Gogebic Iron Range, which stretches east-west from Lake Gogebic, MI, to Mineral Lake, WI.
According to Ann Coakley, Waste and Materials Management director at DNR, the company is now proposing to drill only eight exploration borings rather than the 13 they had originally proposed in their first application.
Company officials indicated they had removed five of the original application's 13 boreholes to gather additional information needed to appropriately address stormwater issues in accordance with applicable regulations.
Coakley said the need for additional information on the five drilling sites was identified during a May 14 site visit by DNR staff to inspect the proposed drilling locations and access roads.
The department will review the new application and has 10 business days to make a decision based on the mining law passed earlier this year by the state Legislature. Gogebic Taconite may apply for a license to conduct additional exploration borings in the future, she said.
The DNR has created a webpage on the Gogebic Taconite project. It can be seen at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/Gogebic.html.