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The Oneida County Board voted Tuesday to reject a call to end the possibility of mining on county forest land.

County voters last November said they were opposed via an advisory referendum by a 2-1 margin to allowing mining on Town of Lynne county forest land.

A large zinc, copper and gold deposit is under county forest land in Lynne, which is in western Oneida county.

Supervisor Alan VanRaalte, whose district includes Lynne, introduced the resolution. He said the vote made him feel he was compelled to end the possibility of mining in Oneida county.

Sa magnuson33/Wikimedia Commons

We’re continuing our series on the historical influence of mining in the Upper Peninsula today, specifically in the Ironwood area, with the story of the Ironwood Carnegie Library. (Listen to Part One about how neighborhoods in the Upper Peninsula got their names here.)

There are Carnegie libraries all over the country, including in Merrill and Rhinelander. While Andrew Carnegie did a lot of good for libraries though, he was a controversial figure.

Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company

Over the past weeks and days we've had stories leading up to next week's advisory vote about leasing land in the Oneida county town of Lynne for mining.

We've  talked to the vote 'no' group, Protect The Willow.

Monday we had a retired mining engineer talking about the differences between a U.P. mine and the Lynne site.

Later this week we'll talk to the Lac du Flambeau band of Lake Superior Chippewa about their opposition.


A joint effort involving Oneida County UW-Extension and Oneida County Economic Development Corporation will supply the public with information prior to a November 6 non-binding referendum vote regarding mining in the Town of Lynne.

The county board approved the advisory vote after a change in the state's mining laws made it easier for companies to mine.

Myles Alexander of UW-Extension and Stacey Johnson of Economic Development say they're gathering information from a variety of sources to place on a website and later at four public sessions across the county.

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A spokesperson for the state Sierra Club questions why there's a rush in Oneida county to change it's mining ordinance.

Last December in Rhinelander, Governor Walker signed a bill labeled "Mining For America", which, among other things, repealed the state's "Prove It First" law, commonly known as the Mining Moratorium bill.

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As Oneida county is moving toward state-mandated changes in its metallic mining ordinance, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has made it clear they don't want mining here and want to talk.

Oneida county is scheduling a public hearing early next month on the revisions suggested by consulting attorney William Scott.

Marathon County Braces For Sulfide Mining

Apr 24, 2018
Wisconsin DNR-Flickr

Wisconsin News Connection is here.

EASTON, Wis. - Wisconsin's moratorium on gold and silver mining will be lifted as of July, so a number of counties are now looking into creating their own mining regulations.

Counties want to prevent or mitigate damage to well water and the environment, after Gov. Scott Walker decided new mines could attract business and help keep younger workers in the state.Recently, Marathon County became the first to pass an ordinance, and it's being held up as a model for others.

Clean Wisconsin

Wisconsin News Connection is here.

MADISON, Wis. - Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate and a number of Wisconsin environmental organizations have come out in strong opposition to a bill that would change the state's law about mining permits.

State Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, says Wisconsin is a state that prides itself on clean and abundant water, and this bill erodes the state's heritage of good stewardship. He says our policies should reflect a long-term commitment to safeguarding our natural resources.

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State Senator Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst chaired an hours-long public hearing in Ladysmith Thursday on a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin's nearly two-decades long Mining Moratorium law.

The current law requires that before the state can issue a permit for mining of sulfide ore bodies, companies must first provide an example of where a metallic sulfide mine in the U.S. or Canada has not polluted surface or groundwater during or after mining.

Michigan DNR

The Michigan DNR has issued a use permit to a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to do exploratory drilling on a 1-square-mile-piece of property located along the westernmost edge of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Gogebic County.

Michigan DNR spokesperson John Pepin outlines the activity....

"....they began their drilling Sunday and it's expected to go until early March, depending on the weather. What they're doing is drill a dozen holes to analyze whether there's sufficient quality and quantity of copper under the surface that could be mined...."

A Duluth woman is raising money to offset court costs that she’s being asked to pay on behalf of a mining company. 

Laura Gouger says she and two other plaintiffs have to pay more than $60,000 of the opposing side’s legal fees…after losing a case they brought against the Flambeau Mining Company. 

“I’m very disappointed.  I would say that mining companies are not held accountable for polluting public waters.”

The Flambeau mine near Ladysmith was an open pit copper and gold mine that operated between 1991 and 1999. 


Oneida county residents will get a survey in a few weeks to give their thoughts on rules concerning boathouses and piers. At a meeting Wednesday, the same committee said they wouldn't add language to code that would allow mining in forest areas.

Supervisor Billy Fried has expressed a view that Oneida county should not have it's own rules over piers, deferring to the more lax DNR rules. He says the rules make it difficult to place piers. He also objects to the Oneida county rules where investigations are prompted by complaints...

Up Close: Iron Mining in the Upper Peninsula

Nov 26, 2013
P. Gordon /

Controversy continues over a proposed iron mine in Iron and Ashland counties.  

While Wisconsin hasn’t seen an open pit mine in a while, some neighboring states have.  Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is home to a pair of open pit iron mines that have been operating for several decades.   

Standing on the edge of Empire Mine is like looking into an amphitheater far too big for any performance.  It’s a mile wide and a mile across.  1200 feet deep.  I start wondering how many swimming pools it would take to fill it. 

Can a Community Keep a Mine Safe for the Environment?

Sep 12, 2013
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

On the shores of Lake Superior, the nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership has spent years working to protect and restore watersheds around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 

Digging Into Mining Ordinances

Jun 22, 2013

Iron County residents have a chance to brush up on their understanding of local zoning ordinances that regulate mining.  The Iron County Citizen’s Forum is hosting speaker George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Foundation and former secretary of the state’s Department of Natural Resources.  Terry Daulton with the Iron County Citizen’s Forum says it will help inform people about how communities deal with mining activities.