August 7, 2013 by Barbara With
On August 15, 2013, the Wisconsin DNR is holding a hearing to take public testimony on whether to issue a bulk sampling permit to Gogebic Taconite LLC (GTac) for mining in the Penokee Hills.
GTac submitted their application for bulk sampling in late June. On July 2, the DNR issued a ten-point response requiring more information from GTac, including how they plan to deal with the asbestos found in the Penokee HIlls:
Wisconsin Geological Survey shows grunerite, one of the most toxic forms of asbestos, is present on and near the proposed mine site.
10. Additionally, given the documented occurrence of asbestiform minerals in ore bodies of similar nature in Minnesota and reports of similar minerals (amphiboles of the cummingtonite-grunerite series) in the vicinity of the proposed bulk sampling activity, it will also be necessary to evaluate the bulk sampling activity to determine whether regulations pertaining to the control of asbestos emissions under chapters NR445 or NR447 WI. Admin.Code is required. If there minerals are present or potentially present in an asbestiform habit within the excavated material, a percentage of total emissions would likely be asbestos emissions.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, grunerite is one of the most toxic forms of asbestos and causes lung cancer, mesothelioma and pulmonary fibrosis. The Wisconsin Geological Survey states on its website that grunerite is found throughout the Mellen area on and near the proposed mine site. (see above)