Gogebic Taconite

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Gogebic Taconite, LLC
TypeSubsidiary of Cline Resource and Development Group
IndustryMining
HeadquartersFlorida and Hurley, Wisconsin, USA
Key peopleBill Williams, President
Chris Cline, President of Cline Resource and Development Group
ProductsIron ore
Websitewww.gogebictaconite.com/
 
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Gogebic Taconite, LLC
TypeSubsidiary of Cline Resource and Development Group
IndustryMining
HeadquartersFlorida and Hurley, Wisconsin, USA
Key peopleBill Williams, President
Chris Cline, President of Cline Resource and Development Group
ProductsIron ore
Websitewww.gogebictaconite.com/

Gogebic Taconite is an iron-ore mining company in development stage, based in Florida,[1] with a presence in Hurley, Wisconsin.[2][3] The company, owned by the larger mining outfit, Cline Resource and Development Group, is at the center of a dispute among politicians, community groups, environmental organizations, Native American tribal councils and various stakeholders because of a proposed mining project slated for operation in Iron and Ashland counties in northern Wisconsin.[4]

Proposed project[edit]

Designed to produce taconite pellets used for steelmaking, the project under consideration in northern Wisconsin might yield up to 2 billion tons of ore across the 22-mile long lease property, according to company figures.[5] The $1.5 billion project (in terms of taxable revenue) sits amongst the remote Penokee Hills south of Lake Superior, and most of the initial work is to be done in a 4- to 5-mile section near the town of Mellen, 20 miles south of the Bad River Band tribal reservation in Odanah, Wi.[6] With lease rights covering over 21,000 acres, the project would be the largest mine in Wisconsin's history, and requires legislative action in the Wisconsin State Legislature to advance.[7] Hurley, Wi has a long history of mining in the area. Mining began somewhere around 1880[8] when the first iron was discovered. Both shaft and open mining, like the process proposed by Gogebic Taconite, have been recorded since the late 1800's in the area. Hurley, Wi is more known for its lake effect snow falls, miles of snowmobiling trails, hunting, fishing and local ski hills, but that wasn't always the case. The entire area, both historically and culturally, is an area of both mining and logging. The Hurley High School mascott is the "Midgets" due to the stature of working in the mines. A mainstay food in the area is the pasty, which was brought over from the English miners to the area in the late 1800's. You will find bars named the Iron Nugget, Freddie's Old Time Saloon, and the Iron Horse Inn which encompass the rich history of the area. For decades in the late 19th century and into the 1920s, the Gogebic was one of the nation’s chief sources of iron. Iron from the Gogebic helped to fuel the industrial boom in the Upper Midwest during these years. By 1930 mining was winding down in the area. The mines began closing in amid a national economy suffering from the Great Depression. The result was widespread economic devastation in the Gogebic Range. The Montreal and Cary mines closed in the 1960s when the steel industry changed from using high-grade iron ore from deep shaft mines to using abundant taconite ore that could be economically mined by the open-pit method. At the time of closing, the Montreal and Cary mines were producing ore from workings nearly one mile deep. The last iron ore from the Gogebic Iron Range in Wisconsin was shipped from the Cary Mine in Hurley in 1965.[9] The mines can still be seen in the historical mining houses along the Carey stretch and Montreal areas. The mining industry sustained the area for 85 years with no known environmental affects.

When Gogebic Taconite began pursuing an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin, the numbers grabbed both supporters and opponents.

 » 700: mining jobs created in the first 30 years of operation locally with a livable wage 
 » $1.4: billions of dollars of tax revenue a mine would generate for local and state government over that time 
 » 2,100: number of related jobs created statewide 
 » 1,000: feet deep at the deepest point of a mine 
 » 22: miles wide the pit mine would be after 90 or more years of work 
 » 22,000: acres of potential iron ore deposits 

» $200,000,000,000 Billion: Total Value of the Penokee Range Iron Ore

Controversy[edit]

Proponents of the project say that the first mining phase will last 35 years and create 700 direct mining jobs. Opponents question the jobs claim, say that the mine will harm the environment and pollute local water sources, including sloughs where Bad River tribal members hold traditional rice harvests. More recent controversy has focused on the present state of the Bad River that runs within the reservation. A local tribal member and former tribal council member, Tom Deragon Jr., stated the tribe has been polluting the Bad River and Lake Superior. Commenting to the Ironwood Daily Globe,[10] "Nothing's getting done," he said. "I don't understand why the Environmental Protection Agency isn't coming down harder on this," Deragon said. The Bad River Odanah reservation also hosts a local casino which makes local's wonder if the casino is also polluting the nearby waters.[11][12] In particular, opponents have noted that the presence of iron sulfide in the overburden could cause acid mine drainage. Legislators, including Republican Governor Scott Walker, have voiced their support for the mine, while state Democrats, environmental groups like the Sierra Club, all 11 sovereign Tribal Nations in Wisconsin, including the local Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, most of the cities in the area of the proposed mine (including La Pointe, Ashland, Bayfield and Washburn), are in opposition even though these cities are not located in the mining zone. Hurley, Wi, which is historically and culturally a mining town and Mellen, Wi are open to the proposal. These would be the closest towns within the mining zone.[13][14][15]

In July, 2013, the mine site owners hired armed security to guarantee the safety of the work site and employees after protesters attacked a local women hired to watch the companies equipment.[16] The Security company hired is "BulletProof" from Arizona, who patrol armed and in BDU's. The company then came to an agreement with local law enforcement and continued to use local residents to monitor property.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wis. panel OKs mining bill, sends it to Assembly". Associated Press. 24 Jan 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gogebic Taconite, LLC". Hurley, WI website. Hurley, WI Municipal Government. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "GTAC Project Overview". gogebictaconite.com. Gogebic Taconite, LLC. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Debate on mining bill goes through afternoon". Pierce County (WI) Herald. 26 Jan 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2012. 
  5. ^ "GTAC Project Overview". gogebictaconite.com. Gogebic Taconite. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (9 Jan 2012). "Wisconsin DNR: Mining bill could cost agency millions". Rockford River Star. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Taconite Mine - Wisconsin Mining Activism". wisconsin.sierraclub.org. Sierra Club, Wisconsin John Muir Chapter. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  8. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/search.asp?id=696
  9. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=12112&term_type_id=2&term_type_text=Places&letter=I
  10. ^ http://www.yourdailyglobe.com/story/2013/11/02/news/former-tribal-council-member-says-pollution-should-be-key-election-issue/1656.html?m=true
  11. ^ Pitrof, Marge (24 Jan 2012). "Committee Advances Mining Bill". WUWM Milwaukee. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Broman, Claudia (21 Sep 2011). "Bad River Opposes Penokee Mine, Chairman Says". Ashland Current. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Beckett, Andrew (26 January 2012). "Assembly passes mining bill". Wisconsin Radio Network. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Sierra Club: Mine threatens northern Wisconsin". Associated Press. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  15. ^ Bergquist, Lee (27 Jan 2012). "Senate mining bill to differ from version adopted by Assembly". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 28 January 2012. 
  16. ^ http://dangerousminds.net/comments/masked_heavily_armed_paramilitary_rent_a_cops_are_freaking_out_wisconsin

External links[edit]