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Wisconsin DNR officials looking for answers for Gogebic Taconite's plan

ASHLAND, WI (WTAQ) - Gogebic Taconite has some explaining to do, before it can test for potential iron ore at its proposed mine in Ashland and Iron counties.  

The state DNR has asked for 11 clarifications about the company's latest plan to excavate 4,000 tons of rock at five locations on the property. The agency also wants answers to 29 questions before it will issue a stormwater handling permit.  

The Ashland Daily Press quoted a letter from DNR hydrogeologist Larry Lynch, who said it might be difficult to fully identify asbesti-form minerals using standard field methods. He suggested an alternative.  

Also, the state wants to know if blasting is anticipated for reaching the deepest materials.

In its latest proposal, Gogebic said blasting would only be an option if the firm could not get enough test minerals from excavation equipment.

Meanwhile, the state and federal governments will not work together on preparing environmental impact statements for the new mine. It was mentioned at a previous public hearing that the DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would go their separate ways.

The state asked for federal collaboration anyway, and the Corps recently said no. The DNR's Ann Coakley tells the Wisconsin Radio Network the federal impact statement could come a year after the state's -- and that could delay the mine's permit approval process.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)