persevering the environment

We’re committed to responsible environmental management across all of our business activities including exploration, construction, operations, and closure. We are proactive in our approach to protecting the environment, especially in the protection and conservation of the Menominee River watershed and the natural resources that our community depends on. We understand the importance in responsibly extracting natural resources and in preserving the environment that is so vital to all who live here.

Below you’ll find sections that outline some of the measures we’re taking to protect the environment. As the development of the mine progresses more details will be made available. In the meantime, please refer to our Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and permit applications for more information.

Wetland landscape

Sitewide emissions to air are covered by an air use permit, which has been issued to Back Forty Mine by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

We are dedicated to complying with the conditions of the permit, and ensuring protection of public health and the environment. Back Forty will implement mitigation measures for all sources of dust due to mining operations.

Examples of air quality mitigation measures include:

  •   using Best Management Practices for dust suppression on haul roads;
  •   lowering speed limits of haul trucks and passenger vehicles on site;
  •   washing wheels of trucks before leaving contact areas; and
  •   enclosing and ventilating all large pieces of equipment, screens, crushers, and conveyors

Back Forty Mine will protect the Menominee River. In fact, the MDEQ issued a very stringent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit for discharges from the Mine to the river that both EPA and the State of Wisconsin have reviewed and determined will meet all water quality standards applicable to the river.

Any water, including rain and snow that comes in contact with mining activities, will be collected and sent to an on-site, multiphase state of the art wastewater treatment facility. Once treated, the water will be recycled back into the mining process or returned to the environment.

Regular and rigorous groundwater, surface water, and wetland quality-monitoring program will be instituted at and around the mine site. The program is designed for early identification of any potential issues that could require examination and correction, and also ensure compliance with permit requirements. Results from testing and monitoring of the treated water will be reviewed by the MDEQ.

Tailings are the non-economic rock that is left after ore has been mined and milled.

To protect water quality and the environment, the tailings will be contained in a specially designed, double-lined storage facility. The water that is collected in a sump at the base of the storage facility will be sent to the wastewater treatment plant where contaminants will be removed.

During the closure period, the tailings facility will be dewatered, capped with a composite cover, revegetated, and monitored for the reclamation period.

Lakeside
Back Forty Mine will carry out and pay for all reclamation activities during operations and following mine closure as required by our mining permit.

To the extent possible, certain impacted areas will be rehabilitated while the mine is operating, while other areas cannot be reclaimed until mining is complete.

Upon cessation of operations, we will return the land to a state that is compatible with existing uses on adjacent properties.

Some examples of reclamation activities include: backfilling the open pit, removing all buildings and infrastructure, capping the tailings facility, and revegetation to the sites original forested condition. The wastewater treatment facility will remain in place until the MDEQ determines reclamation has concluded.

The MDEQ requires that Back Forty provide financial assurance to the state before starting any construction or mining activity. This ensures the state has the right amount of money available to close and reclaim the site at any given time if the company is unable to do so. It also protects taxpayers and the community from these obligations.

The funds would be available to the state through a combination of cash in trust, surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or some blend of these and other instruments. The financial assurance amount will be updated every three years to reflect any changes to reclamation, remediation, or post-closure monitoring.