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 MMLeaseSale.dnr@state.mn.us 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 www.miningtruth.org

http://www.miningtruth.org/sulfide-mining-minnesota/#.VcrOHUuFZg0 

http://www.miningtruth.org/sulfide-mining-minnesota/#.VcrOHUuFZg0