Gogebic Taconite Plan Could Cost $1 Billion Plus
ARTICLE | NOVEMBER 17, 2010 - 12:53PM | ASHLAND CURRENT
Information released today about proposed mining in the Gogebic-Penokee Range of Ashland and Iron counties states that Gogebic Taconite could spend more than $1 billion on a potential open-pit taconite mine.
The Ironwood Daily Globe previously reported that Gogebic Taconite, a subsidiary of the Cline Group, purchased a mineral rights leasing option for 22,000 acres in Ashland and Iron counties for a potential taconite mine. To move forward on the project if it's deemed feasible, Gogebic Taconite would need approval from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Matthew Fifield, managing director of the Gogebic Taconite parent company, the Cline Group, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Wisconsin's regulatory process could take anywhere from five to seven years.
Iron County officials are negotiating with Gogebic Taconite regarding access to forest lands for roads and buildings, the Journal-Sentinel reported, while the company is focusing on a four-mile stretch for initial mining operations.
A 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report cautions that the economics and politics of mining have changed since the 1970's when a study concluded that a 22-mile stretch of the Gogebic-Penokee iron range, extending through Ashland and Iron counties, contains an estimated 3.7 billion tons of minable taconite.
Fifield told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that Gogebic Taconite thinks the Gogebic-Penokee deposit would contain in excess of 20 percent of known U.S. taconite reserves.
If mined, the taconite would be processed and then used to make steel.