Core drills up and running at proposed mine site in Northwest Wis

By KBJR News 1

January 31, 2014 Updated Jan 31, 2014 at 10:36 PM CDT

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) -- The drills are up and running in the Penokee hills for the second round of core sampling; however, the sub–zero temperatures have made the drilling process challenging.

"Its hard on equipment so we got a little bit of slow start on this, its delaying some but I think we are up and running," said Gogebic Taconite President, Bill Williams.

G-Tac received approval from the Wisconsin DNR to drill 15 exploratory holes at the proposed mine site near Mellen Wis.
The company planned on drilling 13 holes last summer, but only drilled 8.

"There were 5 of them we couldn't get to because we had to cross into wetlands, so we waited for winter to freeze things up so we could get in," said Williams.

The company also conduced hydrological testing. The process will give them data about where ground water is coming from and how they can go about treating it. G-Tac spokespeople say doing testing during the winter is less invasive to the environment.

"Its basically getting a better picture of what's underneath the topsoil," said Williams.

State legislators have created provisions to keep the public away from the testing sites. The Wisconsin DNR released a map of the closed areas around the mine site.

"It allows us to keep folks back 600 feet; away from our equipment and the roads we are using to operate our testing equipment," said Bob Seitz, Director of External Affairs.

G-Tac has hired a private security company from Wisconsin to monitor the testing areas.

"We have people who are trying to push the limits of the law and see if they can get themselves arrested. Its a pain for us and its a pain for law enforcement," said Seitz.

The next step for the mining company will be to conduct bulk sampling. They hope to start within the next few weeks.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.