Sulfide Mining in Northern Minnesota?

                                        Photo Credit Ian Lucier Animas River toxic spill.  

                                        Photo Credit Ian Lucier Animas River toxic spill.  

by Hannah Johnson

In light of what happened in Colorado and in Canada with mining disasters this literally hits close to home. Pequaywan township recently found out about Sulfide Mining that could potentially happen near the area in years to come which would destroy the healthy clean lakes, drinking water and ecosystems of the area. This would result in runoff from the area into Lake Superior since all streams, rivers, and tributaries in the area lead to the cleanest and largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. The Great Lakes make up 20% of the earth's fresh water. Water a resource needed to not only sustain life but is currently absent in the southwestern part of the United States.

The Great Lakes make up 20% of the earth's fresh water. 

The recent action for the local area and the mining proposition is a MN DNR state lease sale on lots just west of Pequaywan for mining companies to come and do explorations. The DNR opens up lots to sale if they have a person interested in the area. These lots once leased, would be leased for the duration of 50 years. The drilling from explorations is suspected to have some environmental impact though when asked what might be the exact consequences the question was avoided when asked in a meeting with the DNR at the Pequaywan town hall on August 11th. Community members are worried about who and what would be effected in the area. Is there a probability of those close to the drilling sites having issues involving drinkable well water from the small but hundred to thousands feet long of core hole(s) they extract? What are the environmental implications? How will the potential lease holders of the lots get to them with limited road access? The DNR representatives mentioned the company would probably need to put a road through on an individuals private land to get to the lots leased and deal with that private owner individually. 

Yellow dots indicate areas drilled the orange strip is the area deposits of precious metals are more commonly found. 

Yellow dots indicate areas drilled the orange strip is the area deposits of precious metals are more commonly found. 

In terms of probability of this happenning the cost of drilling the holes is expensive at about $5 per foot for the drill which adds up, if the drill is a couple thousand feet long as some are. This means that if initial explorations prove to not find anything lucrative the chances of drilling more core extracts decrease as do sulfide mining perspectives. According to the geologist representative the likelihood of finding lucrative deposits is lower than in areas not too far west by Island lake. Though I personally am skeptical that if they are willing to look into the area at all they must have some grounds to suspect potential for findings.

The DNR representative also said that we can only file comments and concerns to their email to possibly remove certain lots but we cannot protect the entirety of the area. If you wish to file a comment you need to have a specific reason for a specific area in order for comments to meet any considerations by the DNR. Here is the email you can file concerns to under the subject Metallic Minerals Lease Sale. Be aware that sulfide mining isn't just an issue for Pequaywan it is an issue for Minnesota. Take some time to learn more about sulfide mining and the effects it has on the environment at 

A Perfect Day.

The weather is perfect today to get outside and enjoy the weather. Things are still really dry out there and the water is low. Walking through the woods you are bound to find ticks. I had 4 of them today. Bullene's have sold their cabin and I was asked to mention that they are having a sale. I didn't get any more details than that, but if you are out and about it's that time of year. 

Roadside clean up complete! Adopts A Highway. The two mile stretch on Co. Rd. 44 is picked up. There were moose tracks along the shoulder of the road yesterday near the swamp. This year's clean up finds were much less 'interesting' than previous years (For example: wads of women's underwear apparently from a bachelorette party game, a wolf carcass remnant someone tossed while making a rug). Litter bugs tend to drink Mountain Dew, Vodka, and Busch Lite Beer. The quantity of alcohol containers thrown out of our car windows does make one wonder about our safety driving along this road. It would be a DUI gold mine. Almost everything tossed to the ditches this year included recyclables or damaged car parts from hitting the ditch. (Might I suggest if you are going to litter, tossing cash instead?!) If you want to help out on this exciting treasure hunt, we pick up along the roadside twice a year. Keep checking our web site for details. You never know what you will find!

Our cover photo.

The photos on this site are some of my favorite moments around Pequaywan. This photo of a young moose was taken on my way to Two Harbors on the Rosinni. It was a beautiful misty morning when driving the hills led up to this amazing silhouette of a moose. It trotted along in front of me for a while before disappearing in the woods. How does something so large disappear so easily through the trees? This photo was taken the year that moose tracks were found out by the pond, in my driveway, on the neighbors driveway, (and so was a moose!) It's not surprising that shortly after that we began spotting a lot of wolves in the area. 

I miss the canopy of tall pines that used to shoulder the Rosinni. It's not the same without them, but it is still one of my favorite roads to travel on.