Viewpoint: Writer takes issue with Mining legislation defense
In response to Mr. Gullan’s “Defending the Land” letter. First, Tiffany’s restricted access to the mine bill is nothing more than payback for the nearly $1 million that Sen. Tiffany and his 20 Senate and Assembly mining committee members received in campaign donations from mining interests.
Worker safety, huh; who had the AR15’s and who had the posters? And a 300 feet perimeter boundary would be a lot easier to patrol then a 3000 acre area.
Second, GTAC stated the mine, over a 30 year life span, would employ about 700 workers and the estimated multiplier effect from the mine would stimulate a total of 2,834 long-term jobs. Not exactly the “3000 good paying jobs at the mine and many more secondary jobs” of which Mr. Gullan boasts. Keep in mind the iron ore market might be tight now. But, new mines such as the Roy Hill project in Australia will be coming on line and it will be one of the largest mining projects in Australia. Mining operations should produce 55 million tons of high grade hematite iron ore (iron content 69.9 percent) per annum and not low grade taconite (iron content 20 percent) the principal iron ore mined in the United States. Who do you think China will be buying iron ore from?
Third, the Bad River Band has not been continuously polluting the Bad River. EPA records show e-coli levels in wastewater discharges from a facility operated by the Bad River Band exceeded federal limits. The plant was cited in each of 5 years 2004-2008; however it has not been out of compliance in the past 12 quarters. And remember, this is important; a river can self-cleanse itself of e-coli, but not of sulfides. Environmentalists are especially concerned about sulfides in waste rock and their potential to cause acid mine drainage that would harm the Bad River and its tributaries.
GTAC plans call for mining around 14 million tons of ore per year over 30 years. Only about 1/3 of the volume of this mined ore will end up as steel and the rest will end up as waste or “tailings”. Sample core taken ten miles east of the mine site reveals that the rock is comprised of 20% pyrite a major source of sulfide. By contrast, Minnesota iron ore averages about 0.1% pyrite. This mine will be a sulfide mine with sulfide “tailings” poisoning the water.
John Kocovsky. Hazelhurst