Monday, October 07, 2013

Mine May Open Next Year As Last-Chance Appeal Languishes

Additon 10/10/13:

Look at what is also happening in Wisconsin:

Scott Walker's Open Pit Mine

One of Wisconsin’s most beautiful and environmentally sensitive forest wildernesses is to be pierced with a four-mile-long, 1,000-foot-deep gash in the Earth for an open-pit mine to produce deadly taconite. Out of state Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) is nearing approval – through a rigged kangaroo court environmental review process – to begin industrially destroying a 21,000-acre chunk of land in the remote forest highlands of northern Wisconsin called the Penokee Hills. The area is home to hardwood forests, rivers and streams, lakes, and wetlands. The land provides crucial habitat to wolves, bald eagles, songbirds, bears, and trout along with many rare plants such as the ram’s head lady slipper orchid. The Penokee Hills are also critical for clean water resources, characterized by a complex hydrology of surface and groundwater that flows into nearby Lake Superior (less than 20 miles away) and then through the Great Lakes.

In 2011, GTAC purchased the mineral rights for a vast area in the Penokee Hills; proposing to build the largest open-pit iron-ore mine in the world to extract taconite, a low-grade ore. Existing taconite mines are chronic polluters, routinely fined for serious air and water violations. Wisconsin’s water is under increasing threat with dead zones in the Green Bay, a recent and lingering drought in the project area, warming and much reduced water-levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and a sand fracking boom ravaging the southwest’s land and water.

The ill-conceived Gogebic mining project poses an extreme risk of an industrial accident which could foul the Great Lakes, threatening 20% of Earth’s freshwater. The mine threatens the Bad River and Lake Superior watersheds, supported by over 200 inches of snow each year. The watershed is crisscrossed by complex flows from surface waters in lakes and rivers – including an unknown number of unmapped creeks – into groundwater, and then draining under pressure into the Great Lakes. The Kakagon and Bad River coastal wetland complex on Lake Superior are known as “Wisconsin’s Everglades.”

The proposed mine would extract taconite by removing about 650 feet of overburden on top of the ore. These “wastes” would be dumped in massive tailings piles at the headwaters of the Bad River watershed. With contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, and other heavy metals, sulfates, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides being released from mining tailings dust, waste rock, ore transportation, and ore processing, the air and water quality in northern Wisconsin will become seriously degraded. Large tailings piles have the potential to generate acid rock drainage if sulfide minerals are present in the waste rock and are particularly prone to industrial accidents that could release massive discharges of toxic wastes into the Great Lakes.

Please sign this. THIS MUST STOP.


Mine May Open Next Year As Last-Chance Appeal Languishes

As a tribe awaits resolution of a last-chance appeal to stop mining in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, an international company is moving closer to production. The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community has challenged a state permit that allows sulfide mining to extract copper and nickel on public lands in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Court of Appeals agreed to hear the case 13 months ago but has not yet heard oral arguments. In the meantime, the mine is moving ahead, with production scheduled to begin in about one year. In the lawsuit, the tribe and three environmental groups raise concerns that the mine will contaminate water, including groundwater and the Salmon Trout River, which the tribe relies on for food and spiritual ceremonies. The company, however, says it is using state-of-the-art technology, at a cost of $10 million, to treat the wastewater and prevent contamination.


My previous entry on this last year:

Sacred water, new mine; A Michigan tribe battles a global corporation to protect their water and sacred land

From entry:

This is a sulfide mine, as in sulfuric acid.

Some facts:

"There has never been a metallic sulfide mine that has failed to pollute its watershed. Once such a reaction starts it is difficult to keep this acid drainage out of the water. When water becomes acidic it leaches out and disperses heavy metals into lakes and streams. Heavy metals are dangerous to health, wildlife, and the environment.

There is more to be worried about here than “just” the coaster brook trout: when the insects and microscopic life in streams are affected it starts a chain of events that leads in unexpected and unpredictable directions affecting the fish, the birds, the predators and us.

This is NOT about people, and not about a company. It’s about a PROCESS.

Clean waters and wild lands define the Michigan lifestyle. It’s Great Lakes and the U.P. wilds that make Michigan the state we love. You can live in the city and in a few hours be on blue lakes or in forests of fragrant pine.

The legacy of sulfide mining is acid mine drainage. It poisons water forever. (2,500 – 10,000+ years.) The industrial development required to mine it on State land, in Michigan’s wildest area, will destroy that wildness forever."


This is an egregious action of disrespect to water and the spiritual rights of those who call this area their home. These are the stories showcasing the huge fight taking place between those seeking to preserve our environment and the corporate/government alliances looking to destroy it for profit that are not seen, but should be. And as always the company says there will be no environmental damage. How naive do they think people are? We hear the same thing from oil companies, "frackers" and all companies looking to desecrate sacred ground all for their precious corporate balance sheets as we see our water made toxic and our land stripped bare.

The Salmon Trout River is a sacred site and source of food for the Keweenaw tribe

"The company, however, says it is using state-of-the-art technology, at a cost of $10 million, to treat the wastewater and prevent contamination."


This is the inherent disconnection. Those who can only think and live by the $$$$$$$$$ will never know the true value of what they destroy for all time.

Facts About Sulfide Mining-It Is A Water Killer

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