Iron ore company shelves plans for Wisconsin mine

The company proposing to build a huge iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin has taken steps to withdraw from the project, the Duluth News Tribune reported on Monday night.

The news site says that Gogebic Taconite, which planned to build a $1.5 billion mine in the state, has asked the Department of Natural Resources to withdraw its mineral exploration licence. The company is also asking the state to return reclamation security bonds worth $30,000, since no exploration drilling was done and therefore no reclamation is needed.

Duluth News Tribune quotes Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz saying the company is looking at other options including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is hoping for a new mining law in Wisconsin.

A bill introduced by Wisconsin Republicans last year tried to streamline the permitting process for Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) to open the new open-pit iron ore mine south of Lake Superior.

However, groups opposed to the mine, which would have stretched four miles along Ashland and Iron counties, said the mine would endanger water and air quality and create an ugly scar on the landscape.

Opponents included tribal leaders and environmental heavyweight The Sierra Club.

Earlier this month, following public hearings on the project, the Wisconsin State legislature rejected proposed mine permitting reforms, and Gogebic Taconite said it would end plans to invest in mining in the state.

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