Cline Group offers $50,000 salaries and hundreds of jobs! 11/17/10  (FOX 21 News)

ASHLAND - A mining company wants to spend more than $1 billion to develop an open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite has purchased an option to lease the mineral rights on 22,000 acres in Ashland and Iron counties.

The process of obtaining the necessary permits to open the mine is expected to take five to seven years. If that approval is given, the state Department of Natural Resources says the project would be the first in Wisconsin since the Flambeau copper mine operated from 1991 to 1997 near Ladysmith.

Gogebic is an affiliate of the Cline Group. Company spokesman Matthew Fifield says the mine would employ hundreds of workers.

Fifield tells the Journal Sentinel comparable mining salaries are at least $50,000 annually.