MINING COMPANY WITHDRAWS PERMIT FOR ACID SOLUTION MINE
Michigan decision may have impact on Wisconsin sulfide mining
On Thursday afternoon, May 29, the Copper Range Corporation
withdrew its permit for acid solution mining at the White
Pine copper mine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water manager
Jody Traub telephoned Chippewa tribal chairs from
the EPA Region V office in Chicago around 3 pm to inform them
of the company's decision.
Midwest Treaty Network spokesperson Walter Bresette
hailed the company move as a major victory for grassroots environmental
organizing and traditional Native American activism. "The death of the
White Pine mine shows that mining companies are now on the run in our
region. We anticipate the company withdrawal to begin a domino effect
across the North Country. Today White Pine, tomorrow Crandon!"
A Copper Range letter stated that the current delays in permitting
the acid solution pilot project, and anticipated future lawsuits, are
creating "uncertainty" that renders the acid project "economically
infeasible." The project would have reopened the White Pine mine, which was closed in 1995,
in order to extract or leach out the remaining copper ore with a sulfuric acid solution.
The White Pine acid solution mining project was the cause of a
train blockade on the Bad River Chippewa Reservation in northern
Wisconsin last year. The Anishinabe Ogitchida (Protectors of the
People) blocked the Wisconsin Central Railroad tracks from July 22
to August 18 out of fear that sulfuric acid being transported in tanker
cars to White Pine would spill into reservation waterways.
For comments, call Walter Bresette at:
Midwest Treaty Network Northwest Wisconsin office at (715) 779-5071.
Witness request from Bad River Aug. 1997