mission, vision, values

Mission

To safely build a modern mine where employees are empowered to make certain that our operation is protective of the environment, socially engaged, and proactive in the economic development of the communities where we work, live, and play – building capacity that lasts well beyond the life of mine.

Vision

To become a world-class mining operation that protects and minimizes impacts to our environment, promotes sustainable benefit for communities and stakeholders, and inspires commitment to a safe, injury-free workplace for all workers, every day.

Values

  • Safety
  • Environment/Social Responsibility
  • Personal Commitment
  • Transparency
  • Leadership
  • Focus on Results
  • Ownership

Back Forty miners talking

history

Back Forty Mine is Aquila Resources’ 100%-owned, permitting-stage gold and zinc rich mine located in Menominee County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Zinc and copper minerals were discovered in 2001 when a local landowner had a new water well installed. Early in 2002, exploration drilling resulted in the discovery of the deposit. Subsequent drilling in 2002-03 and 2006-08 totaling over 252,625 feet helped define numerous closely spaced zones of significant zinc-gold-copper-silver mineralization. Over the past 18 years, Aquila and various joint venture partners, including INCO and Hudbay Minerals, have invested more than $100 million exploring and advancing Back Forty.

The open-pit mine is scheduled to start a two-year construction phase in 2021. Operations are estimated to run for seven years.

history

Back Forty is Aquila’s 100%-owned zinc and gold mine located in Menominee County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Zinc and copper minerals were discovered in 2001 when a local landowner was having a new water well installed.  Early in 2002, exploration drilling resulted in the discovery of the deposit. Subsequent drilling in 2002-03 and 2006-08 totaling over 252,625 feet

drill core sample

helped define numerous closely spaced zones of significant zinc-gold-copper-silver mineralization. Over the past 18 years, Aquila and various joint venture partners, including INCO and Hudbay Minerals, have invested more than $90 million exploring and advancing Back Forty.

The mine is expected to commence operations in 2023.

our local team - small, but mighty

David Anderson
General Manager

Dave has more than 25 years of experience in permitting, environmental monitoring, impact assessment, and regulatory affairs. Most recently, Dave was our Director of Environment and Permitting.  Previously,  he held the position of Director of Environment for Highland Copper’s Copperwood project and developed the project from exploration, through completion of feasibility and permitting.

Dave also brings years of legislative and government affairs experience in mining regulation and mining tax reform. He has served on numerous state, tribal and federal committees and worked with regional NGO’s in shaping conservation policy, protection of water resources and environmental remediation. Dave earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from Northland College with an emphasis in policy and law.

Developing a world class gold/zinc mine takes a lot of time, but when Dave manages to squeeze in some free time, he loves to hunt and fish. Dave believes the U.P. is the best place in the world to raise a family.  He and his wife, Margo, live on the family’s 4th generation homestead.

Susan Jackson
Financial Controller

With more than 20 years of experience in Accounting and Business Development, Susan Jackson joined the Back Forty Team as the Financial Controller.  Prior to Back Forty, Susan worked for EnergySolutions at the Zion Nuclear Decommission project for ZionSolutions.  Her role spanned from the financial project development to the completion of the nuclear decommissioning.  During this time, she was part of the safety culture and supported the completion of the billion-dollar project.

Previous to Zion Solutions, Susan worked at Cosmetique, Inc. as the Assistant Controller and played a critical role in the day to day operations, as well as being part of the implementation team to Ecometry, an ERP system.  Susan earned a Bachelor of Business degree from Western Illinois University and is a licensed CPA.

In Susan’s free time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her children.  She also likes to attend sporting events at the local high school.  When asked why she and her family moved to the U.P., Susan said: “I live and work in the U.P. because it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  The summers are wonderful, the winters are picture perfect from indoors. 😉  The community is also very friendly.”

Daniel Dziedzic 
Health & Safety / Facilities Manager

Dan brings 35 years of experience in emergency response, safety training, and maintenance to Back Forty.  Initially hired as our Facilities Manager, Dan’s role expanded after the completion of professional development coursework to become trained in MIOSHA regulations.  In the role of Health and Safety Manager, Dan manages the development of occupational health and safety strategies, systems, and procedures to ensure they are in line with corporate and state requirements and consistent at each company location. He is also responsible for the development and implementation of health and safety best practices training sessions for all team members. Under his watch, Aquila Resources – Back Forty Mine has not had any reportable, or even recordable, loss time incidents. 

Dan has been a licensed Mechanical Contractor for more than 25 years  Dan also served in the United States Army’s Military Intelligence Corps for six years as an Electronic Warfare Intercept Repairer.  He has earned certifications in Firefighter Level I & II and Fire Officer Level I for the State of Michigan.

In Dan’s free time, he likes to hunt, go camping, ride motorcycle, work on projects around the house, and garden.  When asked why he returned to the U.P. after serving in the military, Dan responded: “Even though there were not a lot of opportunities for work, the U.P. is still a great place to raise a family.  The people who live here have a strong work ethic and will help out their community members when there is a need.  I am also not a fan of hot weather, so the U.P. is the place to be.”

Michael Foley 
Director of Environment & Infrastructure

Mike has 32 years of experience as a Civil Engineer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. Over the last several years, he served as a Senior Project Manager for Coleman Engineering Company (“Coleman”), where he had been the lead contact for a number of mining, industrial, utility and municipal clients. With Coleman, Mike was instrumental in working with the mining consulting team on the Copperwood Mining Project to obtain a variety of regulatory permits for both Orvana Resources and Highland Copper.

Prior to being employed by Coleman, Mike worked on seeing numerous projects through to construction completion for local units of government and counties, as well as working as the Operations Manager for a hot mixed asphalt contractor. Mike earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering, with an Environmental emphasis, from Michigan Technological University and is a licensed Professional Engineer in both Michigan and Wisconsin.

One of Mike’s passions includes field crop farming.  He raises and harvests hay, wheat, oats, and soybeans.  Mike also enjoys woodworking, metal fabricating, and like most Yoopers, hunting and fishing.

Anthony Geglio  
Environmental Superintendent

Tony is a graduate of Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering. His education focused on groundwater engineering and the direct and remote sensing of hydrology. Tony has experience with geological and environmental studies at Highland Copper, where he participated in the exploration of multiple sites including White Pine North, 543S and Copperwood projects. Tony also has a background in hydrographic surveying and production engineering for the dredging industry.  His combination of skills are being utilized to develop an environmental monitoring program at Back Forty.  He is incorporating controlled survey techniques with direct and electronic sensing of the environment. Tony’s goal is to help Aquila Resources – Back Forty Mine exceed permit expectations in the future by having a solid understanding of our baseline conditions.

Tony loves living in the U.P. where he can take advantage of the abundance of outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, camping, and snowboarding.

Lucas Moreau  
Environmental Field Technician

Luke joined Back Forty in 2017.  As an Environmental Field Technician, he is responsible for our field and wetland/water monitoring and data collection.  Prior to joining our team, Luke worked as a field technician in the Water Resources Department for Marquette County Landfill and also completed an internship with TriMedia Environmental & Engineering Services.

Luke earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in water resources and a minor in Business Administration from Northern Michigan University.

In his free time, Luke enjoys golfing, hunting, kayaking, basketball, watching sports, yard games, and spending time with family & friends.  When asked why he lives and works in the U.P., Luke responded: “First and foremost, I love the outdoors and the beautiful landscape the Upper Peninsula has to offer.  I love our vivid four seasons.  I also enjoy the carefree/laid-back lifestyle, but perhaps the the biggest reason I love living in the U.P. is the people.  Everyone is friendly and the communities are very tight-knit.  I enjoy knowing a lot of people every time I am out and about.  Yoopers are one of a kind and are always willing to lend a hand or even just wave/smile when you walk/drive by.  I always loved the saying “It’s not about the place, but the people that live there.”  I knew right after high school that I wanted to stay in the U.P.  As far as work goes, I love being outside and getting my hands dirty.  I enjoy studying/monitoring the environment and there is no better place to do so than here at Back Forty.”

Robert Mahin  
Director of Exploration

Bob has been a U.P. resident for the past 30 years.  His geology career started at Purdue University in Indiana where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Geology and a Bachelor of Arts in Technical Communications.  Bob continued his studies at the University of Utah, receiving a Master of Science degree in Geology with a focus on ore deposits. Upon graduation, Bob worked in Nevada and Utah in gold exploration.

In 1990, Bob was transferred to the Marquette area to continue gold exploration efforts. Since then, he has been based in the U.P. and has gained progressive experience from conducting  field work to managing multi-million dollar exploration programs in the pursuit of both base metals and gold.

Bob stayed in the U.P. because of the small town quality of life and access to the great outdoors. He initially worked at Back Forty in 2002 and stayed on for nine years.  Then, Bob led the exploration team for Lundin Mining’s Eagle Mine in Marquette County from 2011 to 2020.

He is excited to be back with Aquila Resources-Back Forty Mine.  In his free time, Bob enjoys fishing, playing music, working on his hobby farm, and completing crossword puzzles.

Maggie Upton  
Project Geologist

Maggie became our Project Geologist in 2018. She grew up living in multiple states across the country, which provided her with a wide exposure to various experiences. She and her parents spent much time traveling and enjoying activities such as hiking and camping, which led her to pursue an education with an outdoors emphasis. Maggie graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geoscience, Bachelor of Arts in Geology, a Graduate Geographic Information Sciences (GISc) Certificate, and a minor in Biology. She completed the Precambrian Research Field Camp, which focused on field mapping and exploration geology, leading Maggie to further develop her passion for economic and exploration geology. While attending the University of Minnesota Duluth, she received a Graduate Certificate in Stream Restoration Design and Engineering, and started working on the Back Forty Deposit’s alteration for her Master’s thesis research.

Outside of work, Maggie enjoys kayaking, fishing, hiking, and camping. She loves the U.P. because of the beautiful and geologically interesting landscapes the region has to offer. The Upper Midwest, especially Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, has a rich history and future (geologically and economically) in mineral deposits and mining, which she is excited to be a part of.  Beyond outdoor activities, one of Maggie’s passions is educational outreach. Since starting college, she has participated in or led many geology lessons and field trips for students and teachers over the years.

Dana Dziedzic  
Government-Community Relations Advisor

Dana joined the Back Forty team as Community Coordinator in 2018.  In 2020, she assumed her current role as Government-Community Relations Advisor.  Dana brings 15 years of experience as an educator of economics, American government, technology and world history.  Prior to her teaching career, Dana worked in both the financial and healthcare fields.

Dana holds a Bachelor of Science degree in history with a broad-field certification in social studies and a minor in middle and secondary education from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.  Dana also earned a Master of Science degree in Educational Technology from Michigan State University.

In her free time, Dana enjoys camping, reading, skiing and has recently taken up gardening.  She also spends some of her free time designing buildings and landscapes.  Dana did not always want to live in the U.P., but after traveling the world, she realized there’s no place like home.

health and safety

We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees, our communities, and the environment.

From the beginning, “Zero Harm” has been our goal and will continue to be as the development of the Back Forty Mine continues. Ensuring that every employee and contractor goes home safely at the end of the day to their family, that is what matters most.

Multiple agencies will oversee our operations throughout the life of the mine. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is responsible for administration and enforcement of the mining regulation requirements. During construction, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) will provide health and safety oversight. Once the Back Forty Mine is operating, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will assume enforcement functions from MiOSHA.

health and safety

We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our employees, our communities, and the environment.  

From the beginning, “Zero Harm” has been our goal and will continue to be as the development of the Back Forty Mine continues. Ensuring that every employee and contractor goes home safely at the end of the day to their family, that is what matters most.

Multiple agencies will oversee our operations throughout the life of the mine. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is responsible for administration and enforcement of the mining regulation requirements. During construction, Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MiOSHA) will provide health and safety oversight. Once the Back Forty Mine is operating, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will assume enforcement functions from MiOSHA.

contact us

Back Forty Mine

E807 Gerue Street Stephenson, Michigan 49887

(906) 753-9602 | info@backfortymine.com 

Community Response Line: (906) 451-4192

Online Response Form: Click here

Community Inquires: (906) 753-9602