Gogebic Taconite wants to excavate five sites in northern Wisconsin, in order to assess the quality and quantity of the area's buried iron ore. The company estimates removing, at most, 10,000 tons of material from each half-acre location.
This week, Gogebic Taconite submitted its sampling plan to the Dept. of Natural Resources. The company says it needs to test the deposit, in order to design a final blueprint to mine in the Penokee Range. It includes portions of Ashland and Iron counties, just south of Lake Superior.
In the meantime, the company has provided the agency with a preliminary description of a mining operation and notification that it intends to apply for a mining permit. A year's time must separate the submission of a preliminary plan and mining application.
Under Wisconsin's new iron ore mine permitting law, the DNR must meet certain deadline in reviewing the company's requests and providing feedback.
The agency is expected to schedule a public comment period and a public information meeting for this summer on the company's pre-application plans.
Gogebic Taconite has begun exploratory drilling. The potential open mine is expected to be a half-mile wide and four miles long.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Assembly scrapped a budget item to limit public access to the proposed mining site and instead, gave the DNR permission to pass emergency rules to restrict public access. Opponents of the project have been staging walks in the area.