Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mich. reconsiders Kennecott application

Mich. reconsiders Kennecott application


A company's plan to drill for nickel and copper in the Upper Peninsula was thrown off track as state regulators acknowledged they hadn't adequately considered reports questioning whether the mine's roof would hold up.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said Thursday it was withdrawing tentative approval of Kennecott Minerals Co.'s application to operate the mine, which was awarded in January......

Despite the Upper Peninsula's long mining history, the Kennecott operation would be the first to extract minerals from sulfide ores through a process that critics say could cause acid to leach into the groundwater and nearby Salmon Trout River, a Lake Superior tributary.

Announcing tentative approval in January, the DEQ said extensive steps would be taken to avoid sulfide pollution, including moving the ores from underground directly to enclosed buildings, then to covered trucks and finally rail cars for transport to a processing facility in Canada.