DNR Extends Mine Comment Period For Two Weeks


The Department of Natural Resources has extended for two weeks the time people can comment about a pre-application mining permit by mining company Gogebic Taconite (GTAC).

A pre-application process for a mining permit is like making an appointment for an appointment: It has to be filed one year before a mining company can apply for a permit to mine.

DNR Mining Director Ann Coakley says they had combined the comment period for rock sampling and this pre-application to run through September 3. After confusion arose at a public hearing last week in Hurley over combining the two, however, Coakley said they’ve extended it to September 17. “I went back and read the hearing notice and our press release. While I thought it was clear, perception is reality, and I thought we should extend the comment period on the pre-application notice for a couple of weeks.”

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Coakley says they’re looking for information about the proposed mining area in the Penokee Hills of Iron and Ashland counties: “Specific or local knowledge about the environment in general, whether it be surface water or terrestrial things like species: those are the kinds of comments we’re looking for. “

With that information, they’ll meet with GTAC to let them know what kind of air, water, and other environmental information they’ll need to produce when they’re going for a mining permit.

Coakley says that’s probably three years or more away. ?”I’m sure they won’t be ready to submit their permit application for the mine for a couple of years, because they haven’t began collecting their environmental data.”

Under new legislation passed this year, the DNR has 420 days to make a decision on approving or denying a mining permit after the application has been submitted. The DNR doesn’t, however, have to approve a pre-application process. It’s all part of the countdown.

Information on how to submit comments can be found at the DNR’s website.