Author says precious metals in Penokee rangeA Bayfield County author says he has unearthed documents that show precious metals exist along the Penokee Range iron ore deposit.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A Bayfield County author says he has unearthed documents that show precious metals exist along the Penokee Range iron ore deposit.
Jim Brakken of Cable says one 1880’s headline in a Bayfield newspaper declared the region was on the verge of a gold rush. Brakken also found evidence of silver and copper mining in Bayfield and Ashland Counties while writing his book “The Treasure of Namakagon.”
“In doing that research I uncovered page after page after page of mining claims for silver and gold diggings and copper mines in this area and most of them are in a triangle that goes from Grandview to Marengo down to Mellen,” he said.
He also says gold was a byproduct of copper mining near Ladysmith at the Flambeau mine in the 1990’s. Brakken says his fiction-based-on-fact book uncovered the story of Ojibwe Chief Namakagon trading silver for supplies in Ashland, “That caused many treasure seekers to follow him, try to trick him and no one ever did find out where his silver mine was.”
U.S. Geological Survey geologist Tom Evans says gold was found at the Flambeau mine but doubts it or silver exists in any economically significant amount in the Penokees, “I’m not necessarily aware of any gold exploration in the general area but not in the fleet of rocks that we think of when we think of the Gogebic Iron Range or the Penokee Hills.”
Evans says if an iron ore mine is built and other precious metals are found, the mining company has to make that public and have their permit amended. So if a company is going after iron ore, that’s all they’ll be allowed to remove.