GTAC Finishes Rock Samping In Penokees

After Bulk Sampling Wraps Up Without Incident, 2,400 Tons Of Rock Head To Minnesota For Analysis

The Penokee Hills are the proposed site for a 4.5-mile wide iron ore mine. Photo: Adam Schmidt (CC-BY-SA)

After just 10 days, Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) is finishing rock sampling at the proposed Penokee Hills iron ore mining site.

GTAC spokesperson Bob Seitz says they figured it would take more time to remove almost 2,400 tons of rock from three sites in Iron County, but that big machinery and the 17 to 18 truckloads of rock a day went off without a hitch.

“The samples are all down from the hill and they should be shipped out within a day or so,” said Seitz. “It’s nice to be able to get out into the field and do things. The paper part of this process is sometimes the slowest.”

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This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

DNR hydrogeologist Larry Lynch said their field workers report no environmental problems, largely because the ground is frozen.

GTAC never asked for law enforcement help, although Iron County sheriff’s deputies monitored the truck traffic. Sheriff Tony Furyk said there were no incidents, no threats, and no tickets to people opposed to the open pit mine.

Furyk says conditions were extreme on Wednesday. “They had more trouble with the trucks than anything because of the cold weather,” said Furyk. “But absolutely no incidents in Iron County. Everybody’s done with it. I’m glad it’s over with. It’s one step out of the way I don’t have to deal with anymore.”

Lynch says GTAC must do reclamation work next week, including re-grading the roads they used.

GTAC will still be drilling for core samples: They’ve finished about six of 15 holes necessary for that process, and expect to be done in another month.