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KBIC backs mine opposition

BARAGA – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community backed a Wisconsin tribe’s opposition to a proposed open pit mine near the Menominee River in a resolution adopted last week.

“(The) KBIC Tribal Council formally supports the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin in their opposition to Aquila’s Back Forty open pit metal sulfide mine project in the Menominee River watershed and hereby recognizes that the short-term gain by so few is not worth the long-term risk to the well-being of the next seven generations,” according to the resolution the council adopted Thursday at its meeting.

“Aquila Resources, Inc., a Canadian mining company, has applied for, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has formally proposed to grant, a permit to mine a reactive ore body containing gold, zinc, copper, silver and other minerals by developing a deep open pit mine known as the ‘Back Forty Project’ less than 150 feet from the Menominee River,” the resolution stated.

“The ores of this proposed metal sulfide mine are identified by Aquila as containing high levels of sulfide, mercury and arsenic, the mining of which can produce acid rock drainage and arsenic contamination, which is lethal to fish and other aquatic organisms.

“The environmental risk to the land, air and water as a result of mining are not adequately addressed by the governmental decision-makers and are herein allowing situations requiring perpetual care and do not consider the long-term impacts on our children, grandchildren and future generations.

“The Menominee place of origin was at the mouth of the Menominee River where past industrial abuses including paper mill effluents, arsenic contamination, paint sludge, coal tar and PCB contamination downstream of the proposed mine resulted in the expenditure of millions of dollars of taxpayer money in an attempt to clean up the river, and where Menominee recently help ceremonies to reseed the mouth of the Menominee River with sacred Manoomin (wild rice) beds.

“The Menominee people are indigenous to the Menominee River area where the Menominee are culturally and spiritually tied through their history, their ancestors and their subsistence to the Menominee River, and where proposed mine site development threatens known and documented Menominee archeological sites,” the resolution stated.

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