UPSON, Wis. — Gogebic Taconite plans to drill 13 test holes at its proposed Upson area mine site, where hundreds of core samples were removed in the past, according to an application to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The company is seeking to develop a mine in Iron and Ashland counties and the exploration license request by the WDNR submitted Thursday must be acted on in 10 business days under a mining law.
Most of the surface and mineral rights for the land containing the deposit are owned by the LaPointe Iron Company, which has optioned potential development of the deposit to Gogebic Taconite, LLC.
G-Tac is considering mining along a four-mile stretch near Upson and Mellen. The area of interest straddles the boundary between Iron and Ashland counties and lies between Tyler Forks River to the east and Ballou Creek to the west, according to the application.
It would likely be an open pit mining operation, with a plant building site and waste disposal facilities.
Leased Iron County land would hold tailings from the mine.
According to the lengthy application request, mining exploration in that area dates as early as the 1850s, with core drilling occurring in the 1920s on as many as 240 recorded sites.
Rock samples will be extracted with a drill that will produce a 2.36-inch diameter hole, according to a project overview supplied to the WDNR.
The holes would be drilled from 350 to 1,465 feet with the use of a diamond drill rig.
No water impoundment at the site is planned during drilling. Water for drilling would be purchased from the city of Mellen and trucked in to the site to be used with a sump pump set-up.
Any soil disturbed in the area would be replanted with a seed mix that has been recommended by the WDNR.
Total drilling reclamation costs are estimated at $38,687.
The application carries a $300 license fee.
G-Tac spokesman Bob Seitz said the drill rigs would be moved in as soon as the ground dries up sufficiently, according to the Superior Telegram.
Seitz said G-Tac will soon file an “intent to mine.” The company must file the intent to mine a year before applying for a mining permit, the Superior Telegram reported.
Editor’s note: Details of the entire application from engineer Timothy Myers are available by visiting a special page devoted to the proposed mine on the WDNR’s website. Search for mines.