Wisconsin’s Flambeau Mine has come and gone. Yet, it continues to be cited in various discussions, both pro and con, over the development of new mines in the Lake Superior region like the proposed PolyMet/NorthMet project.
The Flambeau Mine was a copper/gold/silver mine developed in a massive sulfide deposit near Ladysmith, Wisconsin in the 1990s. Owned and operated by Rio Tinto of London and its Kennecott subsidiary (dba Flambeau Mining Company), the mine was quite small by today’s standards.
The Flambeau open pit, at the end of mining, was 32 acres in size at the surface, and the deepest trench reached a depth of 220 feet. All of the ore extracted during the 4-year life of the mine (1993-1997) was shipped by train to Canada for processing, so THERE ARE NO TAILINGS ON SITE. The mine’s footprint was about 180 acres in size, and the project impacted less than 10 acres of wetlands.
Still, the mining industry was NOT able to keep the water clean and prevent long-term pollution problems at Wisconsin’s Flambeau Mine (“the newest and smallest copper mine in the world” AND a mine that operated under laws branded as “tough” by the industry).
So how will PolyMet Mining Corporation be able to protect public water resources at the much larger NorthMet project proposed in Minnesota?
- For important PolyMet-related documents, technical reports and news stories published in 2015 and beyond, please go to my SUPPLEMENTAL website, Flambeau Mine Exposed – II and click on the PolyMet tab.
- For a Power Point presentation comparing the PolyMet proposal to the Flambeau Mine, please click on the following link: PolyMet Decision – The Flambeau Factor, Laura Gauger, March 2016
- For a side-by-side comparison (fully referenced) of the Flambeau Mine (Wisconsin) and the NorthMet/PolyMet proposal (Minnesota), please click on the following link: Flambeau Mine – vs – PolyMet (November 2015).
- For comments submitted by Laura Gauger to the Minnesota DNR and others regarding the PolyMet Final EIS, please click on the following link: Comments on NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange Final Environmental Impact Statement – and – Objection to NorthMet Land Exchange Decision, Laura Gauger, December 4, 2015.
- For a brief summary of Flambeau-related information (May 2015) that may be useful to those involved in the debate over the development of new mines in the Great Lakes region, please click HERE.
- To take a look at letters and brochures containing false and misleading information about the Flambeau Mine that were circulated by Mining Minnesota and its Executive Director Frank Ongaro and later parroted by Twin Metals Minnesota, click on the following links: MiningMinnesota brochure plus letter to Governor Dayton – Flambeau Mine (September 2013) and Twin Metals brochure – Flambeau Mine (December 2013)
- Click HERE for a fully-referenced report written by Laura Gauger (December 2014) that exposes the misleading and false information about the Flambeau Mine circulated by Mining Minnesota and Frank Ongaro
- Click HERE for Gauger’s report, as published in The Reader (Issue # 821, Duluth, MN, December 31, 2014; cover by Bruce Woodman of Duluth, MN).
- Click HERE for a follow-up Letter to Editor that was published in The Reader (Issue # 824, January 22, 2015).
- To watch a Youtube video about the myth of the “environmentally responsible” Flambeau Mine, click here: Laura (Furtman) Gauger interview, June 2009.
- To read comments submitted by Laura Gauger to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regarding the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, please click on the following links: Comments (March 2014) ; Appendix A ; Appendix B ; Appendix C ; Appendix D ; Appendix E ; Appendix F ; Appendix G ; Appendix H ; Appendix I ; Appendix J ; Appendix K ; Appendix L ; Appendix M ; Appendix N ; Appendix O ; Appendix P ; Appendix Q ; Appendix R ; Appendix S ; Appendix T ; Appendix U
- To see how some of the same corporate “players” at PolyMet have been or are currently involved with the Eagle project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Resolution Copper project in Arizona and/or the Flambeau Mine in Wisconsin, please click HERE.
- The plaque shown below is on display at the Flambeau Mine site. It describes the Flambeau Mine as ‘the newest and smallest copper mine in the world.’ If they couldn’t get it right at ‘the newest and smallest copper mine in the world,’ how are they going to get it right at the much larger mine proposed by PolyMet?