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DNR approves GTAC plan to drill more exploratory holes in Penokees

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Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio

The Department of Natural Resources gave approval on Tuesday for Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) to drill another half-dozen exploratory holes in Iron County. The approval renews GTAC’s drilling license for another year.

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DNR hydrobiologist Larry Lynch said the six holes will range from 500 to 1,600 feet deep.

“It’s similar to the last couple of rounds of drilling where you’re really trying to understand the geology,” said Lynch. “It’s a fairly long deposit and they’re more or less trying to fill in informational gaps.”

Included in the approval is a stormwater permit to improve an access road to the drill sites. Lynch said the sites can’t be on wetlands and have to be near an existing road.

He said the DNR will also monitor the drilling.

“We’ve looked at the sites and verified their location relative to wetlands and any other features that may be important,” said Lynch. “They have to provide notice prior to drilling and we’ll have our field staff on site.”

GTAC has posted bonds totally $121,000 to cover site reclamation and filling the drill holes.

With these six new core samples, GTAC will have sunk 29 exploratory holes in the proposed mining site.

More WPR news is available on KUWS-FM 91.3 and online at www.wpr.org.

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