DNR approves exploratory drilling application
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Thursday approved the exploratory drilling application submitted by Gogebic Taconite, LLC.
The DNR issued an exploration license to Gogebic Taconite authorizing the company to drill eight exploratory drill holes.
This is the first exploration license issued under the new iron mining law enacted earlier this year.
The company has proposed exploration in a four-mile area located east of Mellen in eastern Ashland and west-central Iron counties.
The area of interest is part of the Penokee/Gogebic deposit, a 21-mile long portion of the larger Gogebic Iron Range that stretches east to west from Lake Gogebic, Michigan, to near Lake Namekagon, Wis.
The company had initially submitted an application May 9, but withdrew the initial application and submitted a replacement application May 16 after company representatives decided to reduce the number of bore holes they proposed to drill from 13 to eight.
According to Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management director, company officials removed five of the original 13 boreholes from the application to gather additional information needed to address stormwater and potential wetland issues in accordance with applicable regulations. The need for additional information on the five drilling sites was identified during a May 14 site visit by DNR staff to inspect the proposed drilling locations and access roads.
The department had 10 business days to review the application and make a decision.
DNR's decision was based on information contained in the application and supplemental information provided by the company in response to the agency's request for additional details regarding the exploration proposal.
Coakley said Gogebic Taconite may apply for a license to conduct additional exploration borings in the future.
The application, DNR response letter and additional materials are available by searching the DNR website for "Gogebic Taconite Project."