UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) Gogebic Taconite started drilling test holes yesterday at the site of its proposed iron ore mine near Lake Superior in Ashland and Iron counties. The state D-N-R confirmed the start of the drilling, one day after about 15 protestors showed up at the site. Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk said the protestors scattered into a wooded area before his officers got there. He said they’re reviewing allegations that a one person stole a geologist’s camera and cell phone.
Wisconsin Public Radio said there were reports of vandalism and barricades blocking the site – but the sheriff didn’t mention that in his news release yesterday.
The Bad River Indian tribe, which is downstream from the proposed mine, raised a number of concerns about the exploratory permit. Among other things, the tribe said the D-N-R did not consult with them before issuing the permit. The D-N-R’s Ann Coakley told the Associated Press that Gogebic Taconite followed all the proper steps to get a drilling permit – and her agency had no legal grounds to reject it.