12/24/2019- Aquila Resources is bringing a few new bargaining chips to the table as they attempt to secure some county-owned property for access to their proposed Back Forty Mine and ease some of the public concerns surrounding the project. Chantae Lassard with Aquila delivered a status update to the Menominee County Board of Commissioners Monday. She says their latest major push is a proposal to the Menominee County Road Commission to temporarily abandon portions of River Road and create a new East entrance to the mine site. In return, the company is willing to pay the Road Commission’s mineral royalties up front, install helipads for emergency service access, and Lassard says, the agreement offers several other community benefits, as well.
Residents have been loud and clear about their distrust of Aquila self-monitoring for pollution and spills from the proposed zinc and gold mine. To solve this, Lassard says a third-party monitoring system could be put in place modeling what was done at Marquette County’s Eagle Mine, with the Menominee County Board ultimately selecting that monitoring company.
A public hearing on the request to abandon River Road is scheduled for March 24th, though the location is still being determined. Aquila has been issued three conditional permits for the Back Forty Mine, while the wetlands permit is being contested in court and a new dam safety permit application is expected to be submitted early next year.