Asbestos fibers found in Gogebic Taconite bulk sampling site

By KBJR News 1

Asbestos fibers found in Gogebic Taconite bulk sampling site

October 8, 2013 Updated Oct 8, 2013 at 11:54 AM CDT

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- Two scientists from Northern Wisconsin colleges say they have found "abundant" amounts of asbestos in the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine site in the Penokee Hills.

University of Wisconsin Geochemist Joseph Skulan and Northland College Geologist Tom Fitz say they have found rock with pieces of grunerite, also known as “brown asbestos", in bulk sample site 4 for the proposed mine.

This comes after the Wisconsin DNR and the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey released a report confirming the presence of asbestos in a section of the proposed G-tac mine, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

However, in the report from the DNR, officials cautioned that the extent of the grunerite on the potential mine site is not yet known.

Grunerite is associated with the deadly lung diseases asbestosis and a form of lung cancer, mesothelioma. Skulan says the grunerite can be recognized as small, radiating fibrous crystals composed of small fans, intermixed with quartz and magnetite iron ore.

A recent 5 year study by the University of Minnesota confirmed a link between the time spent working in taconite mines and an increased risk of mesothelioma. Researchers say, for every year worked in the mines, a person's risk of getting mesothelioma went up by three percent.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns