Oversight of Mining in Michigan

Oversight of mining in Michigan

Permitting and administration of nonferrous metallic mineral projects

The topic of local regulation has led to a misunderstanding about what role local government plays in mining operations. In Michigan, the Legislature provides the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), responsibility for issuing and enforcing mining permits under the authority of state’s Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining regulations, also known as Part 632. Part 632 broadly prohibits any attempt by local government to regulate or control mining activities. In other words, local regulations cannot preempt or override Part 632.

The confusion over regulation arises because local governments often establish zoning and ordinance rules for their community. However, the law says explicitly that "a local unit of government shall not regulate or control mining or reclamation activities that are subject to this part, including construction, operation, closure, postclosure monitoring, reclamation, and remediation activities, and does not have jurisdiction concerning the issuance of permits for those activities." There is an exception for ordinances that do not duplicate, contradict, or conflict with Part 632. For example, local governments may enact regulations to enforce hours of operation and routes used by vehicles.

In the case of Back Forty Mine, the DEQ is responsible for permitting and oversight of mining activities. Part 632 was created to ensure that proper mining and reclamation methods are carried out to protect the citizens and the environment. A local unit of government cannot require a special land use permit nor enforce a local mining ordinance of a mine operator. For an overview of Part 632, click here.

We will comply with all permit requirements, while ensuring to construct, operate, and close the Back Forty Mine in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. We are always willing to talk with local government and community members about our operation and its significance to the region.


Ensuring Air Quality

Ensuring Air Quality

Protecting People and the Environment

We will protect human health and the environment by following our permits, which include mining, air, water, and wetland.

The Air Quality Division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) ensures that the air we share remains clean by regulating sources of air contaminants. The goal of the agency is to mitigate the adverse impact on human health and the environment from emission sources. Issuance of Back Forty's air permit by the MDEQ came in December 2016.

At our facility, we'll use dust suppression and collection systems in areas of concern when mining and processing ore. Examples include enclosed conveyors, collection filters, water sprays, covered stockpiles, and dampening haul roads to control dust in traffic areas.

Once in operation, inspectors from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will check air quality standards at facilities to ensure worker safety. We'll also conduct air quality sampling on site.


Michigan's Nonferrous Metallic Mining Regulations

Michigan's Part 632

Michigan’s nonferrous metallic mining regulations (Part 632) guide the construction, operation, closure, and post-closure of mining operations. The law also guides monitoring, reclamation, and remediation of nonferrous metallic mineral mines in the state of Michigan. Before Part 632 passed in 2004, Michigan’s then-governor formed a workgroup to discuss increased ecological protection if mining took place. The group comprised of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, environmental groups, industry, the Michigan DNR, Michigan DEQ, and Eagle Mine (formerly Rio Tinto). Today, Part 632 is considered one of the most stringent mining laws in the United States. Several states in the Midwest have studied Michigan’s law when updating their own rules. The link below will take you to an overview of Part 632. The mining law is a great document to review if you have interest concerning mining in your community.

Overview of Part 632


RETHINK MINING

There are two ways to look at mining. The first is to see it as an old and declining industry that has caused historical environmental concerns. The second way to see it as an industry that continues to evolve and fuel the technological advances that define medicine, communication, manufacturing, and our way of life.

Mining worldwide hasn’t always effectively managed environmental impacts. Understandably, this causes distress for some concerning mining in their community. Today’s techniques and regulations are meant to address these issues. In just the past few decades water treatment standards, materials management, and safety requirements have changed dramatically. Mining is no longer the labor-intensive, dirty industry of the past. Programs that drive innovation, technology advancement and efficiency are the foundation of modern mining.

At the Back Forty Mine, we are developing a 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.

If you have questions about our project, please contact our Community Response Line at (906) 451-4192, email info@backfortymine.com, or visit us online.

Go to the American Exploration and Mining Association's website for more information on modern mining.

Rethink Mining Back Forty Mine


RESPONSE TO LAKE TOWNSHIP PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO ZONING ORDINANCES

STEPHENSON, Mich. September 19, 2018 – Back Forty Mine issues the following statement in response to Lake Township's proposed amendments to zoning ordinances.

"The law is clear that local governments are preempted (prevented) from enacting regulations or requiring a local permit affecting mining that contradicts or conflict with Michigan's Nonferrous Metallic Mining Regulations - Part 632. Concerning limited power is given to local units of government, they may “…regulate hours at which mining operations take place and routes used by vehicles in connection with mining operations. However, such ordinances, regulations, or resolutions shall be reasonable in accommodating customary nonferrous metallic mineral mining operations.”

Unfortunately, certain officials in Lake Township have been actively opposing the Back Forty Mine for more than a decade, and by adding illegal, costly, and excessive local regulations by way of amendments, they are attempting to prevent the project from moving forward. For years now, the Township has turned us away when we have tried to work collaboratively with them to address their concerns. The Township has gone so far as to bar officials, via a resolution, from communicating with Aquila. This censorship is both unreasonable and illegal. More importantly, this behavior is preventing Lake Township residents from having a conversation about what support this mine can provide to the community.

We remain optimistic that constructive conversations with the Lake Township Board will bring improvements that are desired by the community, and we encourage residents to have that conversation with Township officials and Aquila."

Related - Eagle Herald: Crowd packs Lake Township Hall

###

ABOUT BACK FORTY MINE

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Dan Blondeau
Manager, Communications
Phone (434) 906-0594
dblondeau@aquilaresources.com


WHAT IS A NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES) PERMIT?

Back Forty Mine NPDES

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants through a point source without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. A point source is any source that is ‘discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, such as a pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, discrete fissure, or container.’ The purpose of the permit is to ensure that a facility meets a state's mandatory standards and the federal minimums for clean water.

The Back Forty Mine requires this permit to discharge treated water to the Menominee River. Permit conditions place limits on what we can release, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure that the discharged water does not harm water quality or people's health. The MDEQ, EPA, and the State of Wisconsin have reviewed and determined the water we release will meet all water quality standards applicable to the river.

Other facilities that require NPDES permits include power plants, municipal treatment plants, manufacturers, and recycling facilities. The permit is valid for five years and is available for renewal to allow the discharge to continue.


AQUILA RESOURCES FILES FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE BACK FORTY MINE

Shares Outstanding: 337,568,556

TORONTO, Sept. 7, 2018 /CNW/ - Aquila Resources Inc. (TSX: AQA) ("Aquila" or the "Company") announced today that it has filed a technical report for its Back Forty Project in Michigan. The technical report is entitled "Back Forty Project, Michigan, USA – Feasibility Study" and was compiled by Lycopodium Minerals Canada Ltd with support from globally recognized experts and specialist consulting engineering companies in environmentally critical areas such as waste water treatment, tailings and waste rock management and mine design (the "Technical Report").

The Technical Report was prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects and supports the disclosure outlined in Aquila's news release dated August 1, 2018. The Technical Report is available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on its website at www.aquilaresources.com.

ABOUT AQUILA RESOURCES
Aquila Resources Inc. (TSX: AQA) is a development‐stage company with strategic assets in the Great Lakes Region. The Company's experienced management team is focused on advancing pre-construction and exploration activities for its 100%‐owned zinc‐ and gold‐rich Back Forty Project in Michigan.

Aquila's flagship Back Forty Project is an open pit volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit with underground potential located along the mineral‐rich Penokean Volcanic Belt in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Project contains approximately 1.1B pounds of zinc and 1M ounces of gold in the Measured & Indicated Mineral Resource categories, with additional upside potential. Aquila has received all State and Federal permissions required for the construction and commencement of operations at the Back Forty Project.

The Company has three other exploration projects: Reef Gold Project located in Marathon County, Wisconsin, the Bend Project located in Taylor County, Wisconsin and Aquila Nickel located in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Reef is a gold-copper property and Bend is a volcanogenic massive sulfide occurrence containing copper and gold.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
This press release may contain certain forward‐looking statements within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. In certain cases, forward‐looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved" and similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook.

These and other forward‐looking statements and information are subject to various known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the ability of Aquila to control or predict, that may cause their actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied thereby, and are developed based on assumptions about such risks, uncertainties and other factors set out herein. These risks include those described under the heading "Risk Factors" in Aquila's most recent annual information form and its other public filings, copies of which can be under Aquila's profile at www.sedar.com. Aquila expressly disclaims any obligation to update forward‐looking information except as required by applicable law. Such forward‐looking information represents Aquila's best judgment based on information currently available. No forward‐looking statement can be guaranteed and actual future results may vary materially. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward‐looking statements or information. Furthermore, Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.

SOURCE Aquila Resources Inc.


CREATION OF THE BACK FORTY DEPOSIT

The Back Forty deposit was formed roughly 1.8 billion years ago around a hot spring on the seafloor. In this type of environment, hot water with high concentrations of dissolved metals and sulfur vent onto the seabed and mix with frigid seawater. The change in temperature and chemistry cause the metallic elements including zinc, gold, and copper to bind with other minerals and settle onto the seabed as metal-bearing minerals. Over the course of time, this accumulation can turn into an economic mineral deposit. Several mineral deposits of this type have been found in our region; including Flambeau, Crandon, Bend, and Lynne.

Scientists first discovered these types of deposits in the 1970s while exploring the Galapagos Islands. The researchers learned that large numbers of organisms depend on the ecosystems formed around these hot springs in the ocean floor. Tubeworms, orange shrimp, eel-like fish, bacteria, and many other deep-sea creatures can be found among the springs.


SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE

State and Federal mining regulations provide criteria and guidance for construction, operation, and reclamation of mining operations. Our mining permit requires us to evaluate risks and response measures should an incident occur, such as a spill. We must ensure that any spill is addressed immediately, and dealt with care, to minimize the impact on people and the environment.

It may seem obvious, but the best way to treat a spill is to avoid having one in the first place. To do so, we'll provide employees with the appropriate training to recognize hazards, including the steps they need to take if a spill occurs. We will utilize secondary containment for bulk storage tanks, regularly inspect equipment and document findings, and have Safety Data Sheets (SDS) available for each chemical on site.

In case of a spill on-site, we'll use spill response equipment such as absorbent materials and remove impacted soils. If there is a spillage of concentrate (e.g., processed zinc, copper) outside of the mine property, we will clean up the material and remove affected soils. Following all regulatory requirements, the impacted area will be tested and monitored to ensure that the required clean-up is successful. Also, we will notify the appropriate authorities.

At least once a year we will hold mock field exercises so that if anything were ever to happen, we would be prepared to respond. We will involve local emergency responders in such activities.

As our project progresses, we will review and update our risks and mitigation measures to reflect operations.


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WASTE ROCK AND TAILINGS

Waste rock

Waste rock is bedrock that has been mined and transported out of the pit but does not have metal concentrations of economic interest. Tailings are the finely ground residuals that remain after the mill process has removed the valuable metals from the ore. Because the waste could affect surface water and groundwater, the waste facilities must limit those impacts to comply with regulatory standards. During mining, we will place all waste rock and tailings on engineered liners similar to those used by community landfills or industrial solid waste disposal facilities.

During closure, the waste rock will be used to backfill the mine pit. The tailings and any remaining waste rock will be covered and monitored per Michigan's mining regulations.