Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

Drilling on the last exploration site in eastern Oneida County was completed on Wednesday.

Badger Minerals had been overseeing the drilling program, which sought to gather data about potential sulfide minerals hundreds of feet under the earth.

Drilling started on June 5.

Drill cores will be taken offsite and reviewed by geologists, and some will be submitted for lab analysis.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

Ron L. Zabler admits Oneida County winters have been harsh on his family’s cabin in the woods.

Some of the paint may be peeling, but that makes this place no less important to him.

“Once I’m up here, I don’t want to go back,” said Zabler, whose permanent home with his wife, Carline, is in southern Wisconsin.

A lot of his attitude has to do with his family’s history on this plot of land.

“I’ve been here since I was 14. I was here when the original owner was here,” said Zabler, who is in his 70s.

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Badger Minerals plans to begin drilling in eastern Oneida County in less than a month, according to documents filed with the county.

The mining exploration company’s plans were just approved by the DNR, the final hurdle to commence exploratory drilling.

The firm told Oneida County 24-hour-a-day drilling near the Wolf River will begin on June 1.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

On Wednesday, a mining exploration company got a step closer to drilling into the earth near the Wolf River in Oneida County.

The county’s Planning and Development committee unanimously approved a permit for Badger Minerals to drill up to ten exploration holes on a private plot of land.

The company wants to find out if the area could be a good place for a metallic mine.

But, if it wasn’t clear before, public backlash demonstrated there’s plenty of opposition in the Northwoods.

Dan Dumas/Kim Swisher Communications

In the winter, snowshoes are the best way to navigate a swath of undeveloped, wooded, privately-owned land between Monico and Pelican Lake in Oneida County.  The simple forest roads that exist are snow-covered and unplowed.

In late January, Badger Minerals, a Michigan-based subsidiary of a Canadian company, announced plans to drill several holes on this tract, seeking to learn more about minerals under the snowy surface. 

Wikimedia Commons Royal Broil

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.

Wikimedia Commons Royalbroil

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.

Wikimedia Commons Royalbroil

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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...."