In a 5-4 vote during a special county board meeting the board passed a resolution 2017-16 opposing the Back Forty Mine and while this vote is symbolic and may not lead to direct action, it still signifies a big win for people who don’t want an open pit sulfide mine along the banks of the Menominee River.
Opposition continues to grow and now Menominee County in Michigan joins several Wisconsin counties who have passed similar resolutions.
There was tension as a large crowd gathered outside the meeting hall in Stephenson, Michigan.
While there was more people who were there to voice their opinion against the mine, there were also a number of people who want the mine and representatives from Aquila Resources.
Aquila Resources has obtained three of the four permits necessary to start mining gold, copper, zinc and silver, it is a project they’ve spent years on and $75 million on.
At the heart of this issue is the water, people are worried that mining would pollute the Menominee River.
“There has never been an open pit sulfide mine near water ever that have not polluted the water,” said Gary Besaw the Chairman of the Menominee Tribe.
Aquila says they have put measures into place that would prevent polluting the river in the case of a catastrophe, including a sophisticated waste water treatment plant and that mining has come along way in terms of safety.
“It’s evolved and the regulations have evolved,” said Bill Matheson Aquila Resources director of construction. “The regulations are significantly tougher and the costs to build these facilities are a lot more because of those regulations, it’s very good and it’s very safe.”
There was another resolution on the table, but that one didn’t get voted on once the first resolution, the stronger resolution passed.