Mellen WI, (NNCNOW.com) - Gogebic Taconite broke ground on Wednesday to take its first core samples from the site of a potential iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills in Wisconsin.
"So basically what we will do here is have sections of pipe that go into the ground and collect a core sample. They will be pulled out with a tube and the sample will come out of there," said Jordan Nelson a driller for IDEA.
On Tuesday Gogebic Taconite placed a drill rig on the site, acquired from IDEA Drilling out of Virgina Min.
The company is required to comply with various environmental regulations and found a drill rig that met their needs.
"This is a unique drilling apparatus or drilling rig the way they got it set up. It's compact, it doesn't take up as much of a footprint, so we can stay on existing roads and not go out in the woods and cut into areas. So the entire project, we are looking at it as being as low impact that we can," said Tim Myers, engineer for G-Tac.
G-Tac will be taking 8 core samples over the next few weeks which will allow them to determine the chemical make– up of the rocks in the area.
"Everything we have debated up to this point is guess work. What we are going to find out from this are the answers to the questions. Opponents can use that information, supporters can use that information, but at least we will be debating information, not guesses," said Bob Seitz, Director of External Affairs for G-Tac.
The company has faced legal and political challenges throughout the process, and protests continued this week.
Protesters came and blocked the road leading out to some of the drill sites and even tore up some of the erosion controls at one of the sites.
"Taking out some of the environmental controls that the DNR has asked us to put in, required us to put in as part of our permit, if those controls are not properly in place then you can have erosion. So ironically the people who say they are concerned about the environment, tore up the environmental protection," said Seitz.
Since the protests on Tuesday, the Iron County Sheriff's Department has increased their presences at the drilling site.
Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.