Dear Editor,

It is time to update property owners, taxpayers and the general public on the current status of the proposed Back Forty mine on the banks of the Menominee River.

Aquila Resources, an exploration company that has never operated a mine before, is apparently spending their time trying to gather additional financial backing after having already spent nearly $100 million of investor funds. They have contracted a $2.5 million investment from Osisko, Bermuda, with another $7.5 million to be delivered depending on achieved goals. Aquila has realigned its revenue streams in order to generate additional operating capital, which also deprives even local investors of promised profits.

Aquila has yet to re-submit a tailings dam application to the State of Michigan, after withdrawing the first one in December, 2019. If they submit a new application, a public hearing will be scheduled. The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. stands ready with an internationally recognized tailings dam expert to assess the construction plans, in preparation for the public hearing. With the failure of two dams near Midland, Michigan, and increased rainfall due to severe climate change, all eyes are on EGLE of Michigan to be diligent in their decisions allowing ANY kind of dam within the state. The Coalition is also awaiting Administrative Law Judge Pulter’s decision on our Wetlands Permit contested case hearing from last fall. We will likely be back in court to either defend his decision if we have won, or take our case further to Circuit Court.

The status of the five required permits has not changed since January 1, 2020. Aquila has only ONE permit free and clear, despite what they are telling their investors: the NPDES (water discharge) permit. There are three permits “issued” but not “effective” due to the number of pre-mining conditions attached and the fact that all three are currently involved in court cases: the Mining Permit 632 Amendment, Modified Air Quality Permit, and the Wetland Permit. The fifth is the Dam Safety Permit, for which no current application has been filed by Aquila.

The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc. stands shoulder to shoulder with 52 organizations and eight counties in Wisconsin and Menominee County, Michigan, that have signed resolutions in opposition to the proposed Aquila sulfide mine on the banks of the Menominee River. We stand ready with our staff of environmental attorneys to protect clean water for you, your children and grandchildren. Please help us defend the Menominee River from mining contamination and pollution.

 

Dale Burie

President of the Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River, Inc.