Michigan judge denies prior permit for Back Forty Mine

Michigan

(WFRV) An Administrative Judge in Michigan has issued a ruling on the Back Forty Mine Project in Michigan.

A Judge for the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules denied the prior issuance of a wetland/stream/floodplain permit.

Aquila Resources, who has been head of the project, wants to mine for gold, copper, zinc and silver in an open pit mine that would be about 150 feet from the Menominee River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The open pit mine has stirred protests from communities throughout Northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan for nearly 4 years.

In January 2020, the Menominee Tribe issued an appeal, saying the Back Forty Mine would violate their sacred land and pollute the water near the site.

A Wetlands Permit was issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on June 4, 2018. That issuance was followed by environmental work and a review process by Aquila Resources.

According to a release from Aquila, the Judge determined that their groundwater model did not provide reliable identification of wetland impacts. They go on to say that they strongly disagree with the Judge’s decision and believe it is a misunderstanding of information.

Barry Hildred, President & CEO of Aquila commented on the ruling, “Obviously, we are disappointed by the Judge’s decision. The Company is evaluating its alternatives, which include the submission of an updated permit application or appealing the decision to the EGLE environmental review panel. Aquila has worked diligently to limit impacts to surrounding wetlands and is only directly impacting 11.2 acres of regulated wetlands.”

The cost of the project is more than $260 million.

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