State To Work With GTAC As It Abandons Proposed Mining Site In Northern Wisconsin

Boreholes, Monitoring Wells Remain In Penokee Hills


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources met with Gogebic Taconite on Thursday to discuss the mining company’s next steps in abandoning its proposed mine site.

The DNR’s Ann Coakley said Gogebic Taconite, commonly known as GTAC, has a number of things to do to button up the site. There are 25 boreholes and 10 monitoring wells that will need to be abandoned.

Coakley said the company also has active stormwater permits that it would need to terminate.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

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

“They have not withdrawn their pre-application notice, which I think they will eventually do or in some other way tell us that they’re not pursuing the project. But we have not received that yet,” said Coakley.

Coakley said the company will need to apply to terminate the stormwater permits. If those applications are approved, the DNR will then visit the site to see that vegetation has been permanently established on the bulk sampling sites.

“It looked really good last year on the bulk sample sites, so we expect it will look good again this year,” she said.

Coakley said they’ll meet with GTAC until the company finishes work at the site. She said the company can choose to temporarily seal the boreholes “if they remain interested or if somebody else is interested in taking over those boreholes for use in the future.”

Coakley said the company hasn’t decided what route to go. As for when work on sealing the boreholes begins, she said that depends on the weather.

She said the DNR won’t release around $120,000 in bonds for the boreholes until work on the site is complete. Coakley added the department will provide another accounting of costs at the end of the project.

“I think we’ll probably exceed that, but that has not been determined yet,” she said.

Coakley said GTAC has already paid $350,000 to the department.

GTAC officials did not immediately return calls for comment.