1. The Crandon zinc-copper sulfide mine would produce 44 million tons of poisonous solid waste "tailings" containing mercury, lead, zinc, arsenic, copper, and cadmium. When sulfide ore is exposed to air or water, it creates sulfuric acid, which is toxic for thousands of years.
2. Half of these powdery mine wastes would be stored in a Tailings Management Area--a toxic waste dump 90 feet high and covering an area larger than 350 football fields. The other half would be dumped directly into the underground shaft mine, with no protection of the groundwater. The waste dump would be the largest hazardous waste site in Wisconsin. (See Environmental Aspects).
3. To prevent the mine shaft from flooding, between 400 and 1200 gallons per minute of groundwater would be pumped out and diverted into a 38-mile liquid waste pipeline to the Wisconsin River. This would divert about one million gallons of water per day from the Great Lakes watershed to the Mississippi River watershed.
4. Those lakes and streams in a sixteen-square-mile area around the mine that are dependent on groundwater could be irreparably harmed by the drop in water flows. Most of the streams are headwaters of the nearby Wolf River, which is a pristine waterway under state and federal laws, and is held sacred by the Menominee Nation downstream.
5. Toxic mine wastes and groundwater drawdown could destroy ancient wild rice beds one mile downstream from the mine. They are an important cultural and food resource for the Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa. Mine dust could affect the Forest County Potawatomi, who are five miles downwind from the proposed mine site (See Cultural Aspects).
6. Metallic sulfide mines and their toxic waste ponds always eventually leak. Leakage or spills from the proposed mine would flow into and could damage the Wolf River, and reduce Northeastern Wisconsin's primary income from fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and other tourism.
7. Large-scale mining (such as in Appalachia or the Upper Peninsula) creates a boom-and-bust economy, with a short-term uncontrolled influx of job-seekers followed by a severe downturn when the mine closes and needs to be cleaned up. Most of the mining jobs go to outside trained technicians rather than local people. Mining towns have high rates of unemployment, social problems, and taxes (See Socio-Economic Aspects).
8. If the mine is permitted, trainloads and truckloads of poisonous chemicals would be traveling every day over Wisconsin railways and roads to the mine. Tons of toxic metallic ore would be traveling from the mine, increasing the possibility of dangerous spills around the state. The proposed mine site is about 100 miles northwest of Green Bay.
9. Toronto-based Rio Algom (owner of the Nicolet Minerals Company) has a deeper and dirtier mining record than its former Crandon mine partner, Exxon. It has a poor track records in environmental protection, economic stability of projects, respect for indigenous cultures, and worker health and safety. It presided over the monumental disaster at the Elliot Lake uranium mines in Ontario, including lung cancer deaths among its miners (See Track Records Report).
10. There has never been a metallic sulfide mine anywhere in the U.S. that
has been successfully reclaimed (or caused no environmental damage). But Rio Algom, Governor Tommy Thompson, and the Department of Natural Resources say the mine can be safe, over the objections of a majority of local Native and non-Native people. Why should we, our environnment, and our economy be an experiment for Rio Algom? We need a moratorium on sulfide mining in Wisconsin (See What You Can Do).
Watershed Educational Project