Sulfide mining has created controversy and intimately led to Wisconsin passing strict laws governing sulfide mining, which have up the present halted sulfide mining in Wisconsin. The current interest in mining across the Lake Superior Watershed has been described as the Midwest mining rush, Across the region national and international mining companies are eyeing the our mineral resources, The unique geology of the region will be showcased in Ashland Wisconsin by the Institute on Lake Superior Geology. The annual meeting will be held on May 18 - 21 and chaired by Northland College professor Tom Fitz.
The recent application by Gogebic Minerals to begin exploration in the Penokee Hills might address the lingering concern that sulfide mining becomes a reality in the Penokee Hills. Sulfide deposits have been documented in the region and until the Cline Group, Gogebic Minerals and possibly La Pointe Mining identify the "footprint" or location of the specific mining sites, the question will remained without a definite answer. The recent editorial in the Ashland Daily Press, Keep the Door Open to Mining, once again discusses the proposed hundreds of jobs, economic gain, and the rebirth of an industry in Northern Wisconsin. Should sulfide mining be part of this industry, will the hundreds of jobs and the spins offs be worth the price? Northland College President Mike Miller recently moderated a Public Information Meeting has suggested Northland College play the role of moderator and convener in the Penokee Hills mining debate. The area economic development councils are excited and showering accolades on the prospect of jobs and money. Politicians from the courthouse to the state house are equally excited - jobs for the North and apparently with little or no regard for the watershed. It is their reputations that are at staked. It was not so long ago the same enthusiasm was displayed for the efforts of Terra energy and their promise of a "Cadillac in every garage". The enthusiasm died as area residents found this promise to be shall WE a bit overstated.
To be certain, the enthusiasm shown for development, jobs, and always attracts the politicians, the prospect of making money, and lots of it attracts the speculators. The current political climate seems to make Wisconsin ripe for speculators. The Governor is attempting to make Wisconsin a third world state by stripping employee bargaining rights, proposing a fast track for developers, and making very questionable agency director appointments. Wisconsin's freshman Senator Washington, Ron Johnson resource extraction wherever they may be found. Sean Duffy seems more than willing to blindly follow the tea party and republican conservatives as he tries to stand up for health care and seniors. WE do not have high hopes for a few hills in the Penokees to rate much concern from his office especially if this current infatuation with jobs and hundreds of them paying $50,000 a year.
Those who stand to profit the most at the expense of the Penokee Hills have crafted a well chosen message, they have greased the hallways of the statehouse, seduced the are economic development corporations, media with the WE hope are not empty promises. What is a concern is the resounding silence when it comes to protecting the Penokees and the headwaters of two major watershed – one flows to the north and other flows to the south. So far all the public hears is orchestrated around the prospects of jobs and economic develop.
Hopefuly acid mining will not become part of the unfolding confrontation between ming supporters and those in opposition. If solution mining, acid mining, or probably ad better description is chemical mining is to part of the process