GTac shutting state office, curtailing mine investment

Gogebic Taconite is shutting down its office in Hurley effective Sunday, announcing this afternoon an extensive review of a potential mining site found issues that “make major continued investment in the project unfeasible at this time.”

Republicans pushed through legislation last session intended to pave the way for a sprawling iron ore mine GTac had proposed in northern Wisconsin. The company said it intends to continue pursuing a permit to mine the site, but cannot justify keeping the office open “without prospect of immediate action.”

The company said its analysis revealed wetland issues that make continued investment unfeasible both because of cost and uncertainty over EPA regulations.

Employees at the Hurley office have been offered severance payments in addition to unemployment benefits, GTac President Bill Williams said in a prepared statement.

He added: “Residents should be reassured that bonding remains in place to guarantee the completion of reclamation activities at monitoring and testing sites on the mine property.”

See the full statement from Williams

WMC’s Scott Manley blamed “the EPA’s outright hostility toward the industry” for GTac’s decision.

“WMC remains hopeful that a mine project will come to fruition in Iron County, home to the highest unemployment rate in Wisconsin, at some point in the future,” Manley said. “WMC will continue to engage in efforts to bring metallic mining back to the Badger State and to advance the interests of the mining industry generally.”