The Fight for Water & Treaty Rights in the Great Lakes

Mining Operations

There are at least 13 active mines and 31 exploration sites in the upper Great Lakes region. This doesn’t include additional sites in Canada. Visit this page for news on these projects and check out the Map.


Great Lakes Mining Operations

map_Mich_smThe Eagle Mine

Tilden Mine

Empire Mine

The Orvana-Copperwood Project (Permits Received)

The Keweenaw Copper Project (Proposed)


map_MN_smThe Iron Range

Twin Metals (Proposed)

The Polymet Northmet Project (Proposed)


map_Wis_smThe GTac Penokee Hills Project (Applications Withdrawn March 24, 2015)



Regional Mining News

New Bill Would Update 1872 Law

The Hardrock Mining Reform and Reclamation Act of 2015 was introduced on February 13th by House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-3). The bill would rewrite the 1872 law governing the mining of gold, copper, uranium and other hardrock minerals on federally managed lands. Read the full Earthworks article at,

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Residents File Suit Against WI DNR Over GTac Rock Sampling

Eight Wisconsin residents have filed suit against the Wisconsin DNR claiming that mining company Gogebic Taconite needed a permit before it began exploratory excavations in the Penokee Hills. Milwaukee attorney Dennis Grzezinski filed the suit Monday, March 10, 2014, in Iron County Circuit Court. “The lawsuit argues the Department of Natural Resources’ failure to require Gogebic Taconite to obtain a

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EPA Reverses Itself on Mesabi Nugget Variance

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is voluntarily vacating it’s decision to approve a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency variance for the Mesabi Nugget taconite facility. “The MPCA had asked EPA officials to make an exception for Mesabi Nugget and allow the company to exceed water quality standards for four pollutants, including sulfate. The EPA approved that variance, but two environmental groups

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Minnesota’s Mining Not an Economic Panacea

“Mining could be a huge economic boost for the state, say proponents of an iron ore mine in northwestern Wisconsin. But it hasn’t been a cure-all for the big iron ranges of Minnesota and Michigan.” Read the full article by Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel writer, Lee Bergquist here.

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WaterLegacy Files Lawsuit over Mesabi Nugget Variance

Re-Posted from Read the full post here. 06.03.13 |  WaterLegacy, represented by Paula Maccabee, filed suit in Minnesota Federal District Court asking the Court to overturn as “arbitrary and capricious” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to allow the Mesabi Nugget iron plant a “variance” from complying with water quality standards. Similar lawsuits were filed by the Fond

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More than Dusty Historical Documents: Treaty Rights in the Penokee Hills

An excerpt from an excellent article by Ron Seely on treaty rights and the proposed GTAC project. Read the full article here. THE PENOKEE RANGE – The fight over the fate of a massive iron ore mine has moved this summer from the state Capitol in Madison to the forests of northwestern Wisconsin and the green, undulating ridges along which

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Rio Tinto Sale of Eagle Mine Finalized

Rio Tinto announced June 12, 2013, that it had sold the Eagle Mine, located near Marquette, Michigan, to Lundin Mining. The sale of the underground copper and nickel mine was subject to regulatory approvals. That sale is now complete. The portal to the ore body is located beneath Eagle Rock, an Anishinaabe sacred site. Many people are concerned about the

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Drilling Ends at Eagle Mine

As reported in Upper Michigan, “The Rio Tinto Eagle Mine now has a depth of approximately 800 feet…[and] the mine has now moved on to the next phase…” Read More at,

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Wisconsin DNR Approves Gogebic Taconite Exploratory Drilling Application

The following notice was taken from the Wisconsin DNR e-mail update, dated May 30, 2013, on Gogebic Taconite’s proposed taconite mining project in Wisconsin’s Penokee Hills. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today approved the exploratory drilling application submitted by Gogebic Taconite, LLC. The DNR issued an exploration license to Gogebic Taconite authorizing the company to drill eight exploratory drill

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