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Original Posts

Saturday November 14, 2009  How valuable is clean water?

What a silly question!  Clean water is invaluable and anyone you ask will tell you so.  And yet, the world is running out of clean water.  Check out the video trailer from the movie The Flow and if you get a chance pickup the movie to watch in it’s entirity, available from NetFlix or ask for it at your local Video store.  It will be worth your time.

Water Wars in the western United States have been going on for many years and are ramping up as the water sources for millions there are beginning to dry up.  Check Google for Western Water Wars and Water extraction from the Colorado river.  We are taken much more that Mother Nature can put back.  Look up the subject “ogallala aquifer depletion.”  Colorado recently made it legal for home owners to capture rainfall and snow that falls on their property.  Other states, Utah and Washingon ban such activities as “stealing from others.” Read an NPR article about Western Water Wars.

What does clean water have to do with sulfide mining in Minnesota?   EVERYTHING!  We are blessed with relatively clean water in Minnesota.  My personal opinion is that we could and should do much more to ensure that we continue to have this amazing increasingly valuable resource.  You and I can live a life time without Copper but we can only live a few days without water.  Seems to me that very strongly indicates the relative importance of those two resources.  There are many places in the world where one can obtain Copper (and that is one of the problems with the economics of the proposed Ploymet mine here, just a slight fluctuation is world Copper prices that they would be out of business).  There are few places where there is clean water such as we have in Minnesota.  And, the total amount of available fresh clean water world wide is dwindling.  The Flow

Sunday November 8, 2009

As hard as we try, it is very difficult to find anything positive about Sulfide Mining.  All the real  benefits, if any, flow out of the state and many times out of the country.  And, taxpayers and local communities  are left with the ecosystem damage, the responsibility for cleanup and costs associated with.  Anyone looking into Sulfide Mining, the technology, and the history would be amazed that any responsible citizen or politician would even think of bringing Sulfide Mining into their communities.  Michigan is very aware of Sulfide Mining and is attempting to bring a Ballot Inititive before the citizens.  They realize that “We all live downstream from sulfide mining.”  They also realize that there is “no pure Michigan without pure water.”  You can read about Michigan’s Ballot Initivie with other references about Sulfide Mining on their website.

Wisconsin after their lengthy battle and pollution from Sulfide Mining “enacted a “mining moratorium law” in 1998 whereby no metallic sulfide mine can be built in Wisconsin until the industry can provide examples of metallic sulfide mines that have operated without pollution problems” according to Laura Furtman.  That was in 1998 and so far no mining company has stepped forward and proven they can mine Sulfide ores “without problems.  “Bob Tammen, ex-iron miner and local activist, wrote: “I don’t have any knowledge of documented “clean” sulfide mines.  Wisconsin legislation required that for a mine to be permitted they would have to show that a similar mine had been operated for 10  years and closed for 10 years without pollution.  We’re still waiting.–Bob”

What is wrong in Minnesota?  Don’t they know of the experiences of their neighboring states?  Why would any state accept such risk, problems, or expenses?  The only conclusion I’ve been able to come up with is that there are a lot of people in Minnesota who are supposed to be protecting all citiziens long term best interests who aren’t.  And, that points to another major problem.  Somebody is getting something out of this Sulfide Mining push here in Minnesota.  And, I sure would like to know what that is.

Sunday November 1, 2009

If you go to the EPA’s website and search for acid mine drainage, you will get a very lengthy list of major problems, polluters, and mining companies fined and mines abandoned with the citizens and the EPA left with Super Fund Sites and massive on-going cleanup fees and problems.


Technically and under ideal conditions with perfect corporate  interest in the long term benefit to a community, region and country, it might be possible to properly handle mining of sulfide containing rock.  However, the practical matter is that corporate mining interests have never yet behaved ideally with the best interest of the communities in which they operate.  Their corporate goal is profit and to make a sufficient profit many times means other and unforeseen circumstances “force” them into making decisions that are exceedingly harmful to the communities, region and country from which they are extracting resources.  “Always bet on greed and lust.”  That is a safe bet.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 Iron Mike Hillman summarizes iron mining in Minnesota and notes the significant difference of Sulfide Mining

To Hell with Iron, it’s Gold We’re After; by Mike Hillman.  29 October 2009

It ended up being one of the great quotes from Minnesota’s mining history.  Richard and Henry Eames, two brothers, are sent north in 1865 to conduct the state’s first real mineral assessment of Northeastern Minnesota.  They were guided by a German immigrant, Christian Wieland, who along with his brothers founded the settlement of Beaver Bay on the shores of Lake Superior.  They were camped near the mouth of Dunka River on Birch Lake, that runs along the north side of a great ridge of rock, the Ojibway called The Big Man Hills, or Giants Ridge.  According to history, Christian Wieland pointed to the Mesabi Hills, and told the Eames Brothers, that it might be worthwhile to spend some time exploring the iron formation.  In a moment of great irony, Richard Eames told his guide; “To hell with that iron.  It’s gold we’re after.”  Then they went on to Lake Vermilion where their specimens of quartz samples, lead to a short lived gold rush in 1866.  By 1870 the rush was over.  They didn’t find any gold, but they did find a lot of iron.

Read More

Tuesday, October 26, 2009 Note to Bob Tammen from Laura Furman in the Book “The Buzzards Have Landed.”

To Bob, This book is not only Roscoe Churchill’s personal account of how a British mining company muscled its way into his community to build a copper, gold and silver mine on the banks of the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin, a history of the grassroots resistance movement to the project, an accounting of the negligible impact of the mine on the local economy and an expose’ of the pollution problems caused by Kennecott’s self proclaimed “environmentally responsible mine,” but a guide for communities facing similar battles now and in the future. On behalf of the Roscoe Churchill Family and myself, it is my pleasure to present this book to your group in the hope that it will be helpful to you in your present struggle.

Warm regards,

Laura Furtman

Monday October 26, 2009 Email reply from Todd Ronning Two Harbors, MN when asked about maps of current activiy in our area for Sufide Mining.

“The only drilling activity I am aware of is in the Birch Lake area, and the Skibo area near rthe headwaters of the St Louis River. There are active drilling sites in western Carlton County, but I’ve not tracked those much.

Map images attached.

Birch Lake Borings

Skibo Borings

Sand Lake Science & Nature Area

I’ve got a “google earth” .kmz file at www.savelakesuperior.org

The Sand Lake lease area is just that at this point, an active lease.

There is currently no drilling going on.

Not to say its not worth pointing out the contradictions in land use within the MN DNR. An SNA is such a sensitive area they outlaw camping and pets within it boundaries, but they allow copper-nickel mining on its borders? Pfft

The land and minerals people never even told the SNA people of the fistful of rights they sold the mining company, with the transfer of mineral and surface ownership.”

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