Mining in Wisconsin

Important Notices

News Release

News Release – March 5, 2020

For Immediate Release: Wolf River metallic sulfide mining – exploration drilling commencing immediately

The Wolf River is under threat. Badger Minerals, a subsidiary of a Canadian mining company, is conducting exploratory drilling to determine the extent to which valuable minerals exist, and could use this information to construct a metallic sulfide mine. The Wisconsin DNR website has sulfide mining information and company documents specifically related to the Schoepke site. The mineral deposit is located in the headwaters area of the Wolf River in Forest, Oneida, & Langlade Counties. The Wolf River flows through 8 (eight) counties, and over 30 (thirty) townships, before it drains into Lake Winnebago, then onward to the Fox River, Green Bay, and ultimately Lake Michigan. It is the defining natural feature in northeastern Wisconsin. Thousands of people rely on the Wolf River for business & employment livelihood, for hunting, fishing & recreation, and for cultural & regional identity, particularly the Menominee Nation and Sokaogon Chippewa—the original people of Wisconsin—who have developed lifeways associated with the river for thousands of years. The river plays a major role in the 5-Billion dollars in wages paid to the 168,000 direct jobs in the Wisconsin outdoor recreation economy. This sector of the economy generates 18-Billion dollars in consumer spending and over 1-Billion dollars in state & local revenue, according to Outdoor Industry Association.The Wolf River pays for schools, roads, infrastructure, and helps lower taxes. Sulfide mining is the most expensive taxpayer funded liability under the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program. What part of this economy are residents of Wisconsin willing to sacrifice to benefit foreign-owned mining companies that ship their workers in—to ship out our valuable minerals and cause environmental damage? We categorically refuse to allow this to happen to our lands and waters.

That is why, on Sunday, March 8th from 12:00-4:00PM, we as a group of concerned citizens, taxpayers, and local Native communities will be marching, rallying, and praying to protect the Wolf River. The Mole Lake Sokaogon Chippewa community would be impacted first and worst by this potential mine, which is why they are so graciously hosting our opening prayer and rally at the Mole Lake Casino. From there, we will Walk for the Water to the proposed mine site on Browns Road. At the proposed mine site, we will have a ceremony to protect the water, offering intention cards and tobacco prayer ties. The intention cards will include notes to the forest and water of our intention to protect them. And the prayer ties filled with tobacco hold spiritual significance to Native peoples, as this is how communication to the Creator and the spirit world is undertaken. Tobacco, alongside prayer, serves as a conduit to open up communication to the spirit world. They communicate that we as human beings are fulfilling our obligation to protect the water, the land, and all the species that call this place home. These prayer ties are a sign of love and respect for the natural world.

We invite the media to arrive at the Mole Lake Casino (3084 WI-55, Crandon, WI 54520) at 11:00AM to conduct interviews, and to stay to cover the prayer and rally starting at 12:00 PM. All media outlets are also warmly invited to follow us along the march, and to cover our prayer and rally on Browns Road. DNR info: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/Projects.html Location: Schoepke Township, Oneida County

“The Schoepke site was previously explored in the late 1970’s by Noranda, Inc and is located in the town of Schoepke in southeast Oneida County. Badger Minerals, LLC (a subsidiary of Can-American Minerals, Inc of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada) has planned exploration activities for February and March, 2020 to evaluate the mineral potential of the area and was issued a metallic mineral exploration license on February 11, 2020. The three planned drilling sites are located on private parcels owned by Badger Minerals and Heartwood Forestland Group.”

News Release – February 26, 2020

Antigo – WI. On Tuesday, February 25th, the Langlade County Water & Land Use Planning Committee (WLUPC) held a regular monthly meeting in the Wolf River Room of the Resource Center in Antigo. Usually this sub-committee sees anywhere from zero to two people from the community attend their meetings. The item on today’s agenda “discuss resolution on Metallic Sulfide Mining in and around the Wolf River Area” brought out an audience of over 40 people. Extra chairs had to be brought in.

The announcement, exactly two weeks earlier, that a Canadian-owned mining company was beginning exploratory drilling immediately in the Headwaters of the Wolf River, was what the crowd was there to hear about. One week earlier (February 18th) at the full County Board meeting, the public brought forth a resolution to oppose sulfide mining in the region. That resolution was referred to the WLUPC for discussion. The director of the Land Records Department – Duane Haakenson – read the full resolution out load to the audience. Questions were asked of Mr. Haakenson by members of the Committee, other County Board Supervisors and public officials in attendance, as well as members of the public.

The public inquiry and comment ranged from surprise that the DNR could approve such a project so rapidly and without any public awareness, to facts about the important economic impact the Wolf River has on the region, to letters of support for the resolution from Wisconsin Indian Nations. The WLUPC got a clear message that all those gathered were in support of the resolution to oppose the notion of mining in such a sensitive area.

It was pointed out by Mr. Haakenson, and other officials, that the powers of counties in Wisconsin to respond to potential mining projects have been limited by the passage of the 2017 Wisconsin ACT 134 (signed into law in December 2017). It was suggested that the residents affected by such projects contact their representatives in the State Legislature, and perhaps other groups (ex: Langlade County Waterways Association, River Alliance of Wisconsin, etc.) that work on legislation regarding state laws that affect water quality.

The overall atmosphere of the meeting was that everyone in attendance was concerned about the preservation of the Wolf River and the way it affects their property value, business livelihood, health, and concern for their children and grandchildren into the future. The WLUPC voted unanimously to make minor legal adjustments to the language in the resolution and forward it to the Executive Committee for consideration. The anticipated date and time at which the Executive Committee will take up the issue is Tuesday, March 10th @ 9:00 AM in the County Board Room (840 Clermont St, Antigo, lower level of jail building). Pending approval by that five person sub-committee, the resolution will be advanced to the next full County Board meeting, at which all 21 Supervisors will be asked to vote on and approve the resolution. The March meeting of the full Board will likely be held Tuesday, March 17th @ 9:00 AM if they schedule it on the typical day of the month (3rd Tuesday) that they hold those meetings. Watch the Langlade County Website for scheduling of all meetings. Contact info for the Supervisors is also available there.

The Executive Committee is also meeting on Wednesday, February 26 @ 8:00 AM. They have an item on that agenda to “discuss any state action that might affect Langlade County” that will likely include the DNR issuing the recent license to do exploratory drilling in the Wolf River area.

The members of the Executive Committee are:

Davis Solin (chair)      tel # 715-627-4221 cell, 715-610-6241

William Livingston       tel # 715-216-5154                  Meeting scheduled for Wednesday,

Ronald Nye                 tel # 715-627-7298                  February 26th @ 8:00 AM in the County Board Room

Ben Pierce                  tel # 715-610-6430                  840 Clermont St, lower level of jail building

Don Scupien               tel # 715-216-8489

(contact information for each Supervisor is on the Langlade County website)

Two important meetings happening about

Metallic Sulfide Mining commencing in Langlade County area!

It is important that many concerned people attend these meetings.

The Water and Land Use Planning Committee meeting is Tuesday, February 25th (3:15 PM). This is an important meeting at which a resolution to oppose metallic sulfide mining in the Wolf River area will be discussed. It is anticipated that the resolution will be forwarded to the Executive Committee for their review and passage.

The Executive Committee is meeting Wednesday, February 26th (8:00 AM). On their agenda is the action to “discuss any state action that might affect Langlade County”. This is an opportunity to address the DNR just having granted a drilling lease to a Canadian-owned mining company to explore the headwaters of the Wolf River. If enough people request that the Executive Committee take up and pass the resolution, it will then be forwarded to the full County Board for discussion and approval. Of the two meetings, this is the most important one to attend.

If you own property in the County, own a business in the County, hunt or fish in the County, or simply drink water in the County, your personal wealth, livelihood, and health will be affected if an open-pit metallic sulfide mine is constructed in the Wolf River area. You have the opportunity and right to contact the County Supervisors and tell them that you want this topic discussed at these two upcoming meetings. Request that the recently introduced resolution to oppose metallic sulfide mining in the Wolf River area be discussed, voted on, and adopted at these meetings.

A recent example. The Executive Committee had no mention that anything about the “Second Amendment sanctuary county resolution” was going to be discussed on their January 14th, 2020 agenda. Yet, before that meeting was over, the Supervisors decided that a resolution was going to be drafted and moved to the full County Board meeting to be held on January 28th. So in two weeks time, that resolution went from non-existent to full County Board discussion. Shouldn’t they be able to do the same for an issue that has the potential to cause significant financial and health harm?

The members of the Water and Land Use Committee are:

William Livingston       tel # 715-216-5154 (chairman)

Roger Buck                 tel # 715-350-1298                  Meeting scheduled for Tuesday,

Sandy Fisher               tel # 715-627-2154                  February 25th @ 3:15 PM in the Wolf River Room

Ronald Nye                 tel # 715-627-7298                  837 Clermont St, Antigo, WI, (in the Resource Center)

Don Scupien               tel # 715-216-8489

The members of the Executive Committee are:

Davis Solin (chair)       tel # 715-627-4221 cell, 715-610-6241

William Livingston       tel # 715-216-5154                  Meeting scheduled for Wednesday,

Ronald Nye                 tel # 715-627-7298                  February 26th @ 8:00 AM in the County Board Room

Ben Pierce                  tel # 715-610-6430                  840 Clermont St, lower level of jail building

Don Scupien               tel # 715-216-8489

(contact information for each Supervisor is on the Langlade County website)

Call these Supervisors today and request that they take up the resolution to oppose metallic sulfide mining in the Wolf River area at both of the upcoming meetings. Make sure you know where these meetings are to be held.

Attend both meetings – tell your family & friends to attend both meetings.

Make sure to attend the February 26th meeting @ 8:00 AM

Resolution

Opposing Metallic Sulfide Mining in and around the Wolf River Area

Whereas, there are known Metallic Sulfide Mineral Deposits in and around the Wolf River Area, and a foreign owned company has recently gained a license to drill exploration holes in the Headwaters of the Wolf River, with the intent to locate an open pit Metallic Sulfide Mine at that location. The Wolf River being one of the largest watersheds in Northern Wisconsin, which passes through Forest, Oneida, Langlade, Menominee, Shawano, Outagamie, Waupaca, and Winnebago Counties before emptying into Lake Winnebago, and ultimately Lake Michigan and;

Whereas, the Wolf River provides a unique habitat for species of special concern such as trout and other freshwater fish, which would be negatively impacted by discharges into the water and;

Whereas, the potential impacts of the mine include long term leaching of acid-producing wastes into the groundwater and the river which would harm sport-fishing and essential sources of drinking water and;

Whereas, the hazardous wastes generated by the mine would degrade water quality and present risks to human health and the environment in Wisconsin, and knowing the fact that sulfide mines are the largest source of taxpayer liability under the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program and;

Whereas, potential economic losses including reduction in property values, loss of property taxes for county budgets, and loss of tourism revenue will linger for many years and negatively impact the area far greater than any short term gain that might be had from such a venture and;

Whereas, the construction of any mine in this area will result in the irreversible loss of significant cultural resources of the Menominee, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa Tribes of Indians of Wisconsin, including Native American gravesites and other areas of historical significance.

Therefore Be It Resolved, that Langlade County, strongly opposes Metallic Sulfide Mining and urges the Wisconsin DNR, the Wisconsin State Legislature, and Governor to deny a mining permit for any Metallic Sulfide Mine in the Wolf River Area.

Oneida County Drilling Sites

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources received a Metallic Mineral Exploration License application and Notice of Intent to Drill from Badger Minerals, LLC, on Jan. 29. Badger Minerals is a subsidiary of Can-America Minerals, Inc. of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The exploration license was issued Feb. 11.


The three planned drilling sites are located on private parcels owned by Badger Minerals and Heartwood Forestland Group in Schoepke in Oneida County. The proposed Badger Mineral drill sites are located directly adjacent to sites previously explored by Noranda in the late 1970s.

Back Forty Project

People are asking, “So, is the mine a done deal?” Several newspapers and television stations had reported in October that Aquila had “all four permits” and that the “Mine was approved despite objections.”  NONE of this is true, see more info at http://jointherivercoalition.org/

News release 6/30/2020

Wolf River Mining Project Update: Thanks to all the people asking questions to the DNR they had to add a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document on the DNR website (https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/documents/projects/SchoepkeFAQ06162020.pdf) addressing exploration on MFL enrolled land. Is their explanation acceptable?

Due to increased public scrutiny Badger Minerals withdrawals some of the drilling sites and reduces the total number of holes.

Because so many people phoned, emailed, and wrote letters to the DNR staff, they were forced to address the decision to grant a metallic sulfide mining exploration license on Managed Forest Law enrolled land. The DNR included a statement about exploration drilling on tax-payer subsidized MFL land:

“The current site activity is metallic mineral exploration, not a commercial mining project. Exploratory drilling is not specifically prohibited under Wisconsin’ Managed Forest Land Program as established in Ch. 77, Wis. Stats.”

Does this explanation satisfy the tax-paying public? Ch. 77 Wis. Stats is very clear about “mining operations”. In fact, the words “mining operations” appears as a specific reference to what type of surface disturbance would make the land “ineligible” for enrollment in the MFL Program. To be clear, “mining operations” make the land ineligible for the forestland owner to receive the pennies per acre tax rate deal for land they have enrolled in the MFL Program. Metallic sulfide mineral exploration drilling is surely a “mining operation”, yet The Forestland Group is enjoying the spectacularly low, tax-payer subsidized, property tax rate!

The DNR also includes a description about ‘bulk sampling’ and leaves it unclear if they would also allow the removal of up to 10,000 tons on material from MFL enrolled land. Using the same reasoning the DNR used to allow the drilling of 800-foot deep holes in MFL land, would equate to the DNR allowing the removing of 10,000 tons of material because the words ‘bulk sampling’ also do not appear as an activity that is “not specifically prohibited under Wisconsin’ Managed Forest Land Program as established in Ch. 77, Wis. Stats”.

The mining company (Badger Minerals) had also proposed to drill a hole in an alternative location where there has is always standing water on the surface of the earth. Due to the increased scrutiny the DNR is fielding about the project as a whole, they told Badger Minerals that the location was not acceptable. Badger Minerals withdrew the request to drill in that location. It now appears they are down to nine holes from the initial ten.

The project is running over the initial time period it was supposed to take. Badger Minerals has applied for a ‘Mineral Exploration License Renewal’ and the DNR is considering that now. If anyone would like to contact the DNR and voice concerns about granting a renewal for this license on MFL enrolled land, you can contact DNR staff at the numbers and email addresses shown below. Remember to inquire about how “mining operations” are not allowed on MFL Land, yet ‘metallic sulfide mineral exploration’ is!

Preston D. Cole, DNR Secretary, 608-266-2621, preston.cole@wi.gov

Ben Callan, Integration Services Section Chief, 608-266-3524, benjamin.callan@wi.gov

Kyle McLaughlin, Waterways & Wetlands, 715-360-6148, kyle.mclaughlin@wi.gov

Michelle Balk, Wastewater, 715-635-4054, michelle.balk@wi.gov

Melisa Yarrington, Stormwater & Erosion Control, 715-359-0192, melissa.yarrington@wi.gov

Stacy Rowe, Endangered Resources, 608-266-7012, stacy.rowe@wi.gov

The DNR website showing all the documents is here: https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/Projects.html

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