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Environmental data being collected ahead of Gogebic Taconite application

ASHLAND, WI (WTAQ) - Gogebic Taconite continues to round up environmental data, as part of its impending application to open a new iron ore mine in Ashland and Iron counties.  

Experts are sizing up everything from rock deposits to peeper frogs on the proposed mining site near the Penokee Hills.  

As you might expect, there's a big disagreement on safety matters involving the rock deposits. Mining opponents cite widespread evidence of potentially harmful sulfide minerals and fibrous material which could cause health hazards to the air.  

But Gogebic says its preliminary research has turned up no such problems.  

DNR officials are conducting their research on the site. The agency's Larry Lynch said his agency found evidence of sulfide materials in the core samples provided by the company -- but he cautions there's more work to do, and there are no conclusions yet on the possible presence of asbestos-type materials in the air.  

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the company has drilled 22 holes as low as 1,400 feet. The mapping of wetlands will begin in the next few weeks.  

The company confirms estimates from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation that the license application field-work could cost Gogebic Taconite $10 to $20 million. 

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)