Sep 4, 2014

GTac Mine in Wisconsin Penokee Range Is Stalled, Altered or Dead

"Several of our sources indicate that the GTac mine project in the Penokee Range" is dead (Woods Person), with GTac officials instructed to spend no more money on the project, amid other reports that the proposed massive open pit mine is laying off technical specialists.

The Prairie Badger notes the report has not been verified by GTac officials.

Lee Bergquist of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel quotes a GTac official, saying, "A Gogebic Taconite spokesman said Thursday that the company is considering constructing its massive iron ore mine solely in Iron County because of opposition from officials in adjacent Ashland County."

But GTac official, Bob Seitz, told Journal-Sentinel: "(n)o staff members have been laid off, as the blog reported, he said. The company has six employees, which includes geologists and metallurgists."

A citizens group, Citizens Concerned about the proposed Penokee Mine, is celebrating online.

Iron County attorney, Anthony Stella, notes the plummeting Iron Ore market heading towards $75/ton, writing that an industry periodical, "indicates 'break even' price is $80 for some existing companies. A new company, like GTAC, would likely have much higher production costs due to a lack of current infrastructure and site-specific issues such as the depth of the ore and the use of unproven dry-stacking methods for tailings."

Industry journals support Stella's analysis.

"A deepening supply glut in the iron ore market will force out the bulk of high-cost mine tonnage in the junior mining sphere , reinforcing the majors' dominance over the coming quarters," notes he Business Monitor Online (August 5, 2014)

Many note that before the mine could ever begin operations, GTac would have to litigate in federal court land likely spend $Millions because of existing U.S. Treaty obligations with the pro-environmental Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) band of Native Americans.

Notes Charles F. Wilkinson, arguably the leading legal expert on native American treaties: "This iron mine complex cannot go ahead without a full analysis of the treaty rights of the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) band. ...  Earlier this year (2013) a federal judge in Washington State ruled, under similar circumstances, that the treaties require more than just allowing tribal members to hunt and fish—the treaties also require healthy habitat so that the species can thrive. And, so, the question is: 'Will this mining complex adversely affect the habitat of treaty-protected species?' If so, the proposed mining project will have to be revised or abandoned." (Mal Contends)

Then there's the EPA and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers against which GTac would also likely have to litigate.

Scott Walker's motive is simply to derive as much political capital and campaign money as he can (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), as Walker fights off Wisconsin voters and a law enforcement probe, while pretending he may run for president simultaneously avoiding questions on his plans for elected office.

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