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The Department of Environmental Quality announced that Orvana Minerals has withdrawn and resubmitted its application for a wetlands, inland lakes and streams permit needed to construct the Copperwood Mine north of Wakefield in Ontonagon County.
The mine would target 798 million pounds of copper and 3.5 million ounces of silver in an underground deposit near Ironwood. The proposed mine had come under fire earlier for potentially violating a Native American treaty. Environmentalists also raised concerns about the company’s plans to withdraw large volumes of Lake Superior water and discharge treated wastewater into a creek that feeds the lake.
According to the DEQ, a number of technical improvements have been made, including adding two preservation tracts totaling 802 acres to the wetland mitigation plan. Company officials say a buffer zone will provide adequate protection.
The company has withdrawn its initial application and submitted the revised one instead. There’s a December 18 deadline for comment. The DEQ says this is the last major environmental permit needed before the project can proceed.
Orvana already has obtained mining, wastewater and air permits from the DEQ.
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