Mining company closes office in Hurley
Gogebic Taconite LLC is closing its office in Hurley, Wis., effective Sunday, announcing Friday that an extensive review of a potential mining site identified issues that "make major continued investment in the project unfeasible at this time."Republicans in the State Legislature had made reforms to the state’s mining laws a top priority last year, even rolling them out in Senate Bill 1. The reforms were intended to pave the way for an iron ore mine GTac had proposed in northern Wisconsin. The Senate conducted hearings on the controversial bill in Madison, hundreds of miles away from the proposed site of the mine.
The company said Friday 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 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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.
Williams 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."
In a column written on Feb. 7, 2014, BizTimes executive editor Steve Jagler predicted that the reformed state mining law, as it was written, was moot and would not lead to the opening of a mine in Hurley.