IS BACK FORTY A SULFIDE MINE?

No.

We are a primary zinc-gold mine with other minerals including silver, copper, and lead. However, the ore body happens to be in sulfide-bearing rock.

The term “sulfide mining” is slang, not a scientific definition or classification of mining. It is a term used by mining opponents to elicit concern and to confuse people into thinking that a mining company is producing something other than the base minerals needed by society, like zinc, nickel, cobalt, gold, and other essential raw materials. These metals occur naturally as sulfide-bearing mineral groups. When present in sufficient amounts they form a minable mineral deposit like the Back Forty. Most of the metals that we use in society today come from mineral deposits containing sulfide. There is no basis for describing zinc, copper or any other mineral mine as a sulfide mine.

back forty mine sulfide mining

Federal court rejects challenge to Back Forty's wetland permit

Federal court rejects Menominee Tribe’s challenge to Back Forty's wetland permit

On December 19, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin dismissed the Menominee Indian Tribe’s federal lawsuit challenging EPA and U.S. Army Corps’ failure to exercise jurisdiction over Aquila’s wetland permit for the Back Forty Mine. The Court dismissed the two claims in the Tribe’s original complaint and rejected the Tribe’s motion to file an amended complaint that proposed two additional claims because the amendments would be pointless.

The Court held that the Tribe could not challenge the federal government’s refusal to exercise jurisdiction over the state wetland permit under the Administrative Procedures Act or the Clean Water Act.

Click here for Aquila's original press release.


Can mining and tourism coexist?

Can mining and tourism coexist?

Both industries continue to flourish and provide jobs in the U.P.

Yes, mining and tourism can coexist.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) tracks tourism economic impact by region and county. In both Marquette and Menominee counties, visitor spending increased each year between 2011-2017. This period spans the permitting, construction, and operation of Eagle Mine, which is operating today.

Mining can even increase visitor spend. Eagle Mine became a tourist destination, hosting visitors from across the state and country to tour both the mine and the mill facilities. Other mine facilities and historical sites also attract tourists each year.

For more information, visit the following websites:


Mine Permit Amendment Submitted

Permit amendment to reduce impacts on environment and community.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued our original mine permit in 2016. Since that time, we've refined elements of the mine design, and we have identified measures to reduce the overall impact of the site. DEQ requires mining companies to apply for an amendment when a proposal is made to make changes to operations (e.g., mining, reclamation). The amendment is consistent with the feasibility study and the wetland permit that DEQ issued earlier this year. We will be sharing more information about the amendment shortly.

In the meantime, you'll find a copy of the amendment at the library in Stephenson or online on the DEQ's website. Go to ftp://ftp.deq.state.mi.us/geowebface and click Mining, Back Forty Mine, and you'll see the amendment files at the bottom. The files are very large due to the amount of detail.


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.


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

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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'S AN EXAMPLE OF AN OPEN-PIT MINE THAT OPERATED AND CLOSED SUCCESSFULLY?

STEPHENSON, Mich. Feb. 17, 2018 – We often get asked for an example of a metallic mine that operated and closed successfully. One such example is the Flambeau Mine, located about 1.5 miles south of the City of Ladysmith in Rusk County, Wisconsin. Below you'll find photos of Flambeau both during and after operations.

Flambeau was an open-pit mine that produced copper with trace amounts of gold between 1993 and 1997. After mining ceased the pit was backfilled and the land was returned to its original contour. Today the site is home to ample wildlife, hundreds of species of plants, and year-round recreation opportunities. The nearby Flambeau River remains protected to this day.

 

Source: http://flambeaumine.com