MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Exploratory drilling could begin this spring on the proposed new Gogebic Taconite iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties.
Ann Coakley of the state DNR said the company could also seek permission to dig up bulk-loads of iron ore, to see how it can be converted into taconite.
Gogebic Taconite officials stayed away Monday, when Governor Scott Walker signed the bill which paves the way for the company’s new mine – which would be the largest in Wisconsin history.
A spokesman said the firm was busy working on the project’s early details at its headquarters in Hurley.
The Republican Walker held bill-signing ceremonies in Rhinelander and Milwaukee, at firms which could end up providing equipment to build the new mine.
Walker predicted that the law would pass all legal challenges. Despite what critics say, he insists it would protect both the environment and the state’s economic interests.
The head of the Bad River Indian tribe said he would start a fund drive this week to round up money for a legal challenge.
Walker said any mining bill would have been challenged in court because there are some people who, “just don’t want any mines under any circumstances.”
Recent polls indicated public opposition, but Walker said it’s because, “All they’re hearing is the scare tactics.” Walker said that when a company wants to invest $1.5 billion, “they want to know that if they follow the rules, the rules aren’t going to change on them.”