EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE—The federal regulation that would accompany a National Register of Historic Places listing could pose a problem to property owners in the area and is opposed by Gold Resource Corp., the Denver-based company that acquired the Back Forty Project, the company said.

“Our official position is this designation, which includes many miles and over 200 homes is not the best approach,” said Dave Anderson, general manager of the Back Forty Project.

Gold Resource Corp. is concerned about protecting the environment, Anderson said. But the National Register might not be the way to go about it.

The State Historic Preservation Review Board is considering a nomination to place an area near the Menominee River called Sixty Islands and The Dog’s Belly on the National Register of Historic Places. A discussion of the nomination scheduled for Friday was postponed and will be held at a future date.

“We have this challenge in front of us to have this development be done sustainably. I’m 100% certain Gold Resources gets that,” Anderson said.

While many people recall Aquila Resources plans for the Back Forty, Anderson said Gold Resource is just beginning its exploration and its plan won’t be exactly the same as Aquila’s was. “We’re still exploring all of the alternatives. I can assure you the new mine will be smaller. The wetlands impact will be greatly reduced. The pit will be smaller. The road will be intact. We’re willing to make all of these investments to make this project a global example of how to do this right,” he said.

The company is examining carbon footprints and other measures of environmental impact. “We’re moving things back from the river. It’s our intent that anybody on the river won’t know that we’re there. All we’re asking is just give us a chance to at least try, give us a chance to do this better,” Anderson said.

The company has hired local employees for its team in Stephenson, he said. “They’re all Michigan residents, people like myself having lived in the U.P. all of our lives. I’m a father. I’m a fisherman. I’m a hunter. And yes this is my job. But foremost, we all love this place and we want to see it protected, but we also need to earn a living and have schools for children,” he said.

The mine would bring new revenue for the school district, the county, for long-term care facilities. At least half the taxes from the mine would stay in the local government units, he said. “Those are unrestricted funds the city, the county and school districts desperately need,” Anderson said.