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DNR lists requirements for Gogebic Taconite, likely to test their own samples from site

UNDATED (WXPR) -- DNR officials have outlined the required permits and environmental data that Gogebic Taconite will likely need to move forward with its plan for an iron mine. The mining company filed a pre-application notification last summer - a notice of its intent to file a mining permit. This week the DNR sent a letter to GTac in response.

DNR hydrogeologist and mining project lead Larry Lynch says besides the mining permit itself, more than a dozen other air and water-related permits are required.  "You know there's an awful lot of work left to do. We're just beginning this process. I want to stress that as we learn more we may need to supplement that list of information that's required."

The DNR also requires Gogebic Taconite to submit an environmental impact report.  Lynch says the DNR has a variety of ways of confirming that data is accurate.  "Department staff will also go in the field and observe sampling. We may split samples with the applicant. So if they're collecting water samples, we may take a portion of their samples and send it to our own lab to verify. And in some cases we may collect our own data."

The next step is for GTac to start gathering environmental data and refining its plan for a mine.

Lynch says the next several months will determine whether additional or different permits are needed, because the current list is not set in stone.

In related news, eight Penokee Range residents have filed suit against the DNR in Iron County Circuit Court, saying the agency did not do enough to protect the environment when Gogebic Taconite was doing bulk sampling.