Gogebic Taconite Closing Office in Northern Wisconsin
The company had wanted to mine iron ore in the Penokee Hills region, but the office closing seems to cast doubt on the plans.
G-tac says it will shut down its office in Hurley, as of Sunday.
According to a statement, the company will continue deciding whether to pursue a state permit to extract iron ore, but can't justify operating an office there, at this time.
The firm's initial plan was to open a four-mile long pit in Ashland and Iron counties. The possibility excited some residents who wanted jobs but enraged others concerned about irreparable damage to the environment, particularly to the watershed. It connects with Lake Superior.
The company said in recent times, that the extensive wetlands it identified there make more investment at present, "unfeasible."
The group Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce issued a statement, in response to the news that GTac is closing its office in Hurley. Vice President of Government Relations Scott Manley said:
"Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature took great steps toward improving Wisconsin's regulatory process for iron mining; however, they can't control the EPA's outright hostility toward the industry. EPA's posturing and actions, including its unprecedented attack against the Alaskan Pebble Mine, make investment in American mines a difficult proposition at this time. WMC remains hopeful that a mine project will come to fruition in Iron County, home to the highest unemployment rate in Wisconsin, at some point in the future. WMC will continue to engage in efforts to bring metallic mining back to the Badger State and to advance the interests of the mining industry generally."
Clean Wisconsin also released a statement, which included these sentiments:
“From the first rumor of this mining company coming into Wisconsin’s Northwoods five years ago, there was no debating the significant risk to natural resources the mine posed. The value of the Northwood’s wetlands, trout streams, lakes, wild rice beds, majestic forests, clean drinking water and the beauty of Lake Superior is immeasurable, and it would have been jeopardized by Gogebic Taconite’s plans for an open-pit iron mine. We hope lessons will be learned through this experience, and that Wisconsin won’t soon go down the path again of weakening environmental laws for the risky and shortsighted plans of a single company.”