December 2005 Happenings
Forum on new mining legislation rules to be held Dec. 6 at MTU
HOUGHTON -- The public is invited to learn about proposed rules to implement Michigan's new non-ferrous mining law at a forum from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in Fisher 135 on the Michigan Tech Campus. This forum is an excellent opportunity to become informed about the issues and to become involved in the rulemaking process that will regulate mining projects in the future.
Panelists will discuss both the general regulatory framework and the arguments for and against the Eagle Project, the controversial proposed nickel-copper sulfide mine in Marquette County. They include Joe Maki, U.P. district geologist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); Jon Cherry, Manager of Environment and Governmental Affairs for Kennecott Minerals Company; Dave Anderson of Flintsteel Restoration Association, a nonprofit environmental consulting group active in the Lake Superior basin; Ted Bornhorst, professor of economic and engineering geology at Michigan Tech; and Alex Mayer, MTU professor of geological and environmental engineering.
|At Michigan Tech in September 2005, Jon Cherry, Manager of Environment and Governmental Affairs for Kennecott Minerals
Company, speaks about the Eagle Project and the company's plan for
protection against acid mine drainage. (Photo © 2005 Michele
During a visit to Michigan Tech in September 2005, Kennecott's Jon Cherry
said the company hopes to apply for permits for the Eagle Project by the end of
this year or early in 2006. He noted an environmental assessment and financial
insurance are required for the permits.*
Open discussion will follow the presentations. This forum is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Copper Country, Friends of the Land of
Keweenaw (FOLK) and the Michigan Tech GEM Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.
It is free and open to the public.
|Ted Bornhorst, left, Michigan Tech professor of economic and engineering geology,
chats with Jon Cherry, Manager of Environment and Governmental Affairs for Kennecott Minerals
Company, after Cherry's presentation at MTU in September. Cherry
and Bornhorst will participate in the Dec. 6 forum at MTU. (Photo ©
2005 Michele Anderson)
The DEQ will hold a public hearing on the rules Dec. 7 in Lansing. Citizens unable to attend the public hearing may still submit written comments December 19,
2005 (See address below). The rules hearings are meant to receive comments on regulation of nonferrous mining in general, not on any specific mining operation. If permit applications are submitted for new mines, such as the Eagle Project, the DEQ will hold additional public meetings and hearings to receive comments on those specific mining proposals.
|Northwoods Wilderness Recovery (NWR) Director
Doug Cornett, right, and NWR Assistant Director Traci Raymond,
second from left, discuss the public meetings and hearings on the
new non-ferrous mining rules at an information meeting in October
2005 in the Motherlode Coffee House in Houghton. Joining in the
discussion are Katie Kruse, left, MTU graduate with a masters in
Environmental Policy; Janet Metsa, center, Houghton Democratic
Party chair; and Carol MacLennan of Houghton. (Photo ©
2005 Michele Anderson)
Why this forum now? A dramatic increase in exploration for nonferrous metals (metals other than iron) in the western Upper Peninsula caused concern over protection of the environment and public health. In response, the DEQ established a multi-stakeholder work group, which drafted language that was incorporated into a new law, enacted in December 2004.**
Doug Cornett, Director of Northwoods Wilderness Recovery (NWR), one of
several environmental groups concerned about the potential for acid mine
drainage from the proposed Eagle Project, said downstate Michigan residents are
also concerned about the possible effects of sulfide mining on the quality of
life in the Upper Peninsula.
"They come here to recreate and to get away from the city madness,"
Cornett and NWR's Traci Raymond spoke with local residents about the mining
rules and public hearings at an informal meeting in the Motherlode Coffee House
in October 2005. The purpose of the meeting, Raymond said, was "to answer
questions about the metallic sulfide mining issue and to network with people who
want to get involved with educational efforts."
|Stanton Township resident Jan Dalquist, right,
receives information brochures on sulfide mining and the new
Michigan legislation and rules from Doug Cornett, left, and Traci
Raymond of Northwest Wilderness Recovery in the Motherlode Coffee
House in Houghton. (Photo ©
2005 Michele Anderson)
No metallic sulfide mines are currently operating in Michigan; but the proposed rules provide details on permit requirements, environmental assessments, mining and reclamation plans, financial assurance, standards for construction,
operation and closure of nonferrous mines. They also set criteria for water monitoring, treatment and containment of ore and waste rock and reporting.
|A view of the Salmon-Trout River, which flows through an area proposed for
sulfide mining. (Photo © 2005 Northwoods Wilderness Recovery. Reprinted with
The DEQ held public information sessions and hearings on the rules Nov. 29 in Escanaba and Nov. 30 in Marquette.
The rules for Part 632 governing non-ferrous metallic mineral mining can be
viewed on the DEQ
Written Comments: Anyone may submit comments in writing as well as at
the hearings. (Comments must be received by December 19, 2005.) Send to: Office
of Geological Survey, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 30256, Lansing, MI 48909-7756. Phone: 517-241-1515 / FAX:
517-241-1595 / E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
* For information on the Kennecott Minerals Company's Eagle Project
Web site. See also a presentation
on the Eagle Project.
** For information and updates on concerns about the proposed sulfide
mining in the Upper Peninsula, visit SavetheWildUP.org,
and the Web site of the Eagle
See also the Keweenaw Now articles, "Trekkers
connect Michigan waters to highlight sulfide mining threats" (Aug. 17,
2005) and "Trekkers
for clean water scheduled to reach Lake Michigan Aug. 30" (Aug. 30,
Visit the Keweenaw Now discussion forums to comment
on this article.
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