Nicolet Minerals Co. formed to replace Crandon Mining
EPA seeks public comment on new national zinc waste fertilize.
Comment deadline February 26


Exxon pulls out of Wisconsin, but Crandon mine project continues

Rio Algom ran the disastrous Elliot Lake uranium mines in the 1950s-1970s, where many mineworkers died of lung cancer from radiation and dust exposure. However, Exxon was the "money bag" for the proposed Crandon mine, and Rio Algom will have a much more difficult time overcoming the intense grassroots opposition to the project. Madison mining opponents are planning a little party Saturday night to celebrate this step forward -- more later on that.

From: http://www.rioalgom.com/
EMAIL: corpcomm@rioalgom.com

January 23, 1998


Toronto, Ontario - Rio Algom announced today that it has purchased Exxon Corporation's 50 percent interest in the Crandon Mining Company, making Rio Algom the sole owner and operator of the Crandon Project.

"Rio Algom remains committed to the Crandon project", said Pat James, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rio Algom Limited. "The project involves one of the better zinc resources remaining in the United States and, given our experience with similar mining operations, Rio Algom is well qualified to develop and operate this mine."

Mr. James added, "We look forward to working with the people of Wisconsin to build and operate an environmentally sound and technically superior mining operation that will set a new standard for the 21st century."

The company anticipates issuance of all necessary state and federal permits in the next two to three years, and will commence construction shortly thereafter.

Rio Algom Limited is a major Canadian mining and exploration company active in copper, molybdenum, uranium, coal and zinc with production in North and South America. It also operates metals distribution businesses in North America which source and distribute a wide variety of specialty metal products.



Nicolet Minerals Co. formed to replace Crandon Mining Co.

Please note that the Nicolet Minerals Company is a "new entity"--it is NOT a renamed Crandon Mining Company. We do not know if the CMC still legally exists as an co-owner or landowner. However, both the transfer from Exxon to Rio Algom, and from CMC to NMC, are clearly in response to the strength of the grassroots Wisconsin movement. Rio Algom has a dirtier record in mining than does Exxon, and these transfers mean little else.

Relayed by Zoltán Grossman, Wolf Watershed Educational Project, c/o Midwest Treaty Network, P.O. Box 14382, Madison, WI 53714-4382 USA. Hotline (800) 445-8615 Tel/Fax (608) 246-2256 E-mail: mtn@igc.org Web page: http://treaty.indigenousnative.org/wwep.html
Rio Algom, Ltd.
120 Adelaide St. W, Ste. 2600
Toronto, Canada M5H 1W5
Tel (416) 367-4000; fax (416) 365-6870
E-mail: corpcomm@rioalgom.com
Web site: http://www.rioalgom.com
Contact: Corey Copeland, Vice President
Corporate Affairs, (416) 365-6863 or
Dale Alberts, Public Affairs
Nicolet Minerals Company (715) 478-3393

For release: January 29, 1998


Crandon, Wisconsin--Rio Algom Limited announced today that a new entity, the Nicolet Minerals Company, will be established to develop and operate the Crandon mine project.

"This is a new company with a new approach," said Pat James, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rio Algom Limited. "We are going to work with the people of Wisconsin to build a mine that everyone can be proud of."

Nicolet Minerals Company derives its name from Jean Nicolet, a French-Canadian explorer who in 1634 became one of the first Europeans to see Lake Michigan and stand on Wisconsin soil.

"I am also pleased to announce that Donald Cumming will be the new President of the Nicolet Minerals Company effective immediately," said James. "Don brings over 30 years of invaluable experience in underground mining to the project, and under his leadership it will become an important asset for the State of Wisconsin."

Prior to today's announcement, Mr. Cumming held the position of Executive Vice-President, Mining Operations at Rio Algom Limited, with responsibility for the company's mining activities in North and South America.

"I look forward to listening and talking with our neighbors to build and operate a mine that will be a model of environmental stewardship," said Cumming. "Moreover, I want to reiterate our commitment to hire local people, which is good for the community and provides a stable workforce."

Cumming stated that the company anticipates issuance of all necessary state and federal permits in the next two years and will commence construction shortly thereafter.

Today's news followed an announcement last Friday by Rio Algom that it had acquired 100 percent of the Crandon project, establishing the company as the sole owner and operator.

Rio Algom Limited is a major Canadian mining and exploration company active in copper, molybdenum, uranium, coal, gold, silver, and zinc with production in North and South America. It also operates metals distribution businesses in North America which source and distribute a wide variety of specialty metal products.



Don Cumming was born in Ontario and graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1966. Following positions at Inco in Ontario, Magma Copper in Arizona, and Sunshine Mining Co. in Idaho, Don joined Rio Algom's Elliot Lake Uranium Operations as Underground Superintendent in 1973.

He was appointed Vice President, Production at Potash Corporation of America in 1986. In 1987, he was appointed President of the Elliot Lake Division of Rio Algom where he led the design and engineering of the remediation of Elliot Lake and Serpent River and continued his work on the decommissioning of Elliot Lake operations when he was relocated to Toronto as Vice President, Environment & Technology in 1989.

In June of 1991, Don became Executive Vice President, Mining Operations, with responsibility for Rio Algom's mining divisions and partnerships. He was appointed President of Nicolet Minerals Company in January 1998.



From http://www.rioalgom.com

Rio Algom's mining operations accounted for 19% ($355.3 million) of total revenue and 54% ($92.0 million) of operating profit in 1996. Mining operations (and their contribution to 1996 results) include:

  • Copper in Chile
    Cerro Colorado - 100% owned
    10% of revenue, 40% of operating profit

  • Copper/molybdenum in British Columbia Highland ValleyCopper/gold in Argentina
    Alumbrera - 25% interest
    First concentrate shipment in October 1997.
    Commercial production to begin in the first quarter of 1998.

  • Uranium in Wyoming
    Smith Ranch - 100% owned
    Production commenced in the fourth quarter of 1997.

  • Coal in British Columbia
    Bullmoose Coal - 29.1% interest, 3% of revenue, 2% of operating profit

  • Zinc/lead in the Canadian arctic
    Polaris - 25% royalty interest, 1% of operating profit

  • Copper/zinc exploration in Peru
    Antamina - 50% partnership with INMET
    Development decision due by September 6, 1998

  • Copper exploration in Chile
    Spence - 100% owned
    Production expected to commence in 2002.

See the "Wisconsin Review Commission's 1995 Report on the Track Record of Exxon and Rio Algom - http://treaty.indigenousnative.org/track-1.html.

The Elliot Lake uranium mines caused the deaths of dozens of Ontario miners in the 1950s-70s (members of the United Steelworkers) from silicosis and lung cancer, the poisoning of the Serpent River downstream and its Ojibwe community.

Serpent River Ojibwe band councilor Keith Lewis testified on Rio Algom's Elliot Lake uranium mines. He said the Serpent River used to be one of the greatest sturgeon producing rivers in the province, but that ancient fish has all but disappeared due to radioactive and heavy metal poisons from the mines, and the only reason walleye are still present is that the river is stocked for sportsmen. Lewis testified that he is one of many former Elliot Lake miners who now have serious health problems such as asthma, bronchitis, or cancer. The provincial Health Ministry admits the miners' lung cancer rates are 300 to 500 percent above that of the normal population. Rio Algom is also on the Survival International Top Ten list, because of its Elliot Lake uranium mines. Lewis testified that the company blasted a spiritual site, and added, "They have given money to the white municipalities which have a larger population... They say to the people of Serpent River who live downstream.... you people are crazy. "In Nova Scotia, Rio Algom has still not cleaned up its East Kemptville tin mine, posing a threat to the multi million dollar lobster industry.




The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to know what you think about using hazardous waste to grow food, lawns and gardens. While you may think this is a no-brainer and that the safest, most protective thing to do would be to ban all hazardous waste from being "recycled" into fertilizer, EPA needs to hear from you because the fertilizer industry is poised and ready to fight stringent regulation of their products. We have our work cut out for us and we have until February 26th to impact EPA's decision!

EPA is proposing to regulate certain fertilizers made from hazardous waste because of a lawsuit brought by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Sierra Club. The ultimate solution to this problem is a ban on the practice of disposing of hazardous waste by turning it into fertilizer. EPA has not proposed this solution, but has proposed taking initial steps to address the problem. In a nutshell, good parts of the EPA draft rule include:

  • Technology based limits on metals in zinc fertilizer made from hazardous waste;
  • A prohibition on wastes from dioxin polluting industries being used for fertilizer;
  • The elimination of a loophole that provides special treatment for steel mill waste when it is used for fertilizer.
  • The elimination of a loophole for mining waste when it is used for fertilizer
  • Full reporting and tracking, including product labeling, of the use of hazardous waste in fertilizer.
We are calling on EPA to move forward on these proposals and strengthen the rule. We want EPA to:
  1. Move towards a ban of the use of hazardous wastes for manufacturing fertilizers by adopting stringent metals standards for all zinc fertilizers. The practice of turning toxic waste from polluting industries into fertilizer is a widespread practice that deserves serious attention. We are glad that EPA has decided to take initial steps to address the problems posed by the metals in zinc fertilizer made from hazardous waste and to propose standards that start to clean up zinc fertilizers.

  2. Remove loopholes that allow hazardous steel mill waste to be turned into zinc fertilizer, and ban its use as fertilizer all together.

    An Environmental Working Group (EWG) report revealed that between 1990-1995, over 2 million pounds of lead were sent from Oregon steel mills to Bay Zinc of Moxee City, WA to be made into fertilizer. Equally disturbing are the extremely high levels of dioxin that have been found in steel mill wastes. Washington State test results in April 1999 revealed that steel mill waste had the highest levels of dioxin out of any of the fertilizer sources tested, including pulp mill waste, cement kiln dust and tire incinerator ash. Other testing by Washington state revealed that steel mill waste-derived fertilizers can contain 1% or more lead as well some of the highest levels of arsenic, cadmium and mercury found in fertilizer (December 1997, April 1999).

  3. Ban all dioxin-laden wastes from fertilizer. Dioxin-among the most toxic chemicals known to science-has no business being incorporated into fertilizer! It is persistent, it builds up in the food chain and our bodies and is toxic at minute levels. There is even evidence it is taken up by certain plants in the squash family. The good news is that we can keep it out by identifying the industries that produce dioxin wastes and prohibiting them from turning it into fertilizer. EPA must stop all hazardous waste generated by industries known to be dioxin sources from being made into fertilizer.

  4. Remove the exemption for mining wastes when it is used for micro-nutrient or any fertilizer product. In its rule announcement, EPA states that it is "aware of at least one iron fertilizer being produced that is exempted from hazardous waste requirements, despite evidence that the product exhibits a hazardous waste characteristic when testedS" This product is Ironite, a lawn and garden fertilizer sold nationwide in stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's. The rule announcement also states, "Data compiled by EPA on fertilizer contaminants indicates that Ironite contains, by a wide margin, the highest levels of arsenic of all fertilizer products surveyed." Ironite should not receive special treatment: EPA must eliminate the mining waste loophole!

  5. Retain existing hazardous waste management requirements for hazardous wastes being made into fertilizer. Right now, hazardous wastes that are going to be "recycled" into fertilizer must meet certain hazardous waste regulations. For example, fertilizer manufacturers that handle the waste must obtain a hazardous waste permit and shipments of the waste must be tracked. EPA has proposed lifting these requirements for wastes made into zinc fertilizer. All of these requirements must be maintained to ensure proper handling, tracking and treatment of the hazardous wastes.

  6. Adopt a comprehensive reporting system and labeling requirements so the public knows what hazardous wastes are being made into fertilizer and what toxics are contained in their fertilizer. We do not have a complete picture of the extent to which hazardous wastes are "recycled" into fertilizer. Many times we find out about it when farmers lose crops, fertilizer handlers become ill or workers decide to "blow the whistle." This is not good enough. We need a comprehensive way of tracking this practice and providing useful label information to consumers. We can do this by requiring additional reporting of this practice and through labels that contain information on the levels of contaminants and whether the product is made from hazardous waste.

Please send a comment to EPA telling them what you think! For a sample comment letter, go to our Web site at http://www.watoxics.org. The deadline is February 26th, 2001! Send comments by mail or e-mail to:

RCRA Docket Information Center Office of Solid Waste (5305W)) US EPA Headquarters (EPA, HQ) 401 M. St., SW Washington, DC 20460 Rcra-docket@epa.mail.gov RE: Docket number F-2000-RZFP-FFFF (Important to include!)