Gold in them thar hills?A Bayfield County author said 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 said he has unearthed documents that show precious metals exist along the Penokee Range iron ore deposit.
Jim Brakken of Cable said one 1880s 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 also said gold was a byproduct of copper mining near Ladysmith at the Flambeau mine in the 1990s. Brakken said 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.” Brakken said.
U.S. Geological Survey geologist Tom Evans said 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 area but there has been copper 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 said 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 therefore, the potential for other minerals to be present that could be economic would be known before any decision could be made on a permit. That’s the protection the regulatory framework provides the people of this state.”
So if a company is going after iron ore, without an amended permit, that’s all they’ll be allowed to remove.