In the last session of the Wisconsin Legislature, an iron mining reform bill failed by one vote. However, another pro-mining measure is expected to be introduced in January.
RENO (MINEWEB) – Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he is confident that Gogebic Taconite will resurrect an iron ore mining project south of Lake Superior.
In comments made to the Associated Press after a speech to the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Walker said Florida-based Gogebic Taconite is still interested in mining in Wisconsin.
A special committee of Wisconsin’s State Senate is scheduled to meet today and get a briefing from Tim Sullivan, the former CEO of mining heavy equipment manufacturer Bucyrus. He is chairman of the Wisconsin Mining Association.
The committee will hear testimony from local government representatives and regional economic development officials on the issue of state-local distribution of tax revenue raised by future mining operations.
After November’s general election, Republicans continue to control Wisconsin’s State Assembly and regained control of the State Senate. The legislature could not reach agreement on a bill which would have reformed mine permitting in the state in order to facilitate permitting and development of the $1.5 billion Gogebic iron ore project.
The mine would have employed 600 to 700 workers in Ashland and Iron counties. It would have also reopened the state’s Iron Range to mining, which would also benefit Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee, which manufactures mining shovels. The last iron ore was shipped from the Gogebic Iron Range in 1965. The range extends for 89 miles from Lake Gogebic in Michigan to Lake Namekagon in Wisconsin.
Both Walker and Sullivan have predicted that a mining permitting reform bill will be reintroduced in January in the Wisconsin Legislature. Walker said Gogebic would return if a bill could be enacted that both protects the environment and eases the regulatory path mining companies must traverse to get project approvals.
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