MINOCQUA – Another layer of accountability is now in place if a mining company ever decides to pursue a mine in the township of Minocqua.
Using its village powers, the town board Tuesday adopted a metallic mining licensing ordinance that goes in effect this Friday, June 22
. The ordinance is modeled after a sample ordinance provided by the Wisconsin Towns Association. Town attorney Greg Harrold tweaked the model in a few places, but it’s unchanged since its first reading earlier this month. No citizen spoke either in favor or in opposition to the measure. The board itself had no comments, either, as it was discussed some time ago. There’s been no indication over the years that any economically viable ore body exits in the township. But the town board wants the licensing requirement as a precaution if an ore body is ever discovered.
Before mining, a company would have to secure a town mining license, which sets forth additional stipulations. Among them is a review by the town’s planning commission. The license would require a buffer area between the mine and adjoining property; also sets hours for operation, including when explosives could be used (3-day window), require well monitoring and enactment of dust, light and noise control measures. In addition, the town would hold a public hearing on the mining license application. The town board faced a looming deadline if it wanted those additional protections. Wisconsin Act 134, the state’s new mining law, goes into effect July 1.
Municipalities have until then to amend their mining ordinances or draft new ones. Those local ordinances can affect zoning or licensing of such mining operations. Minocqua does not have its own zoning ordinances, so it turned to licensing to ensure its concerns were heard before a mining operation would impact the town. Oneida County passed its own mining ordinance this week.
The town ordinance can be downloaded from the town’s website, or a copy can be picked up at the town office.