Michigan Could Have Four Non-Ferrous Mines Within Four Years. Will Minnesota Have Any?
Both Minnesota and Michigan have rich traditions of mining. Iron mines operate in both states, and both states have significant reserves of copper and nickel. However, Michigan is mining these resources, whereas Minnesota is not, at least not yet.
The Eagle Mine, located in the Upper Penisula of Michigan, is currently producing nickel and copper along with other precious metals. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has granted final permits for two additional mines. These mines are the Back Forty Mine, which will be a zinc/gold mine, the Copperwood Mine, a copper-silver mine. The White Pine North mine, which would also mine copper and silver, could also be re-opened, but no DEQ final permits have been issued.
The Back Forty mine is expected to produce 721 million pounds of zinc, 74 million pounds of copper, 21 million pounds of lead, 4.6 million ounces of silver and 532,000 ounces of gold. The company is currently expanding the baseline wetlands data the company has been gathering as part of new DEQ requirements. As of now, the construction timeline for the mine has not been announced.
Highland plans to begin preparing the Copperwood site in January with construction expected to start later next year. Following a two-year build, initial production is targeted for 2021.
The White Pine North mine operated from 1954-1995, producing 4,529,599,418 pounds of copper. Although the mine is currently closed, the Michigan DEQ lists it as a possibility for continued mining in the future.
With all the planned investment in mining in Michigan, it seems fair to ask, will there be any non-ferrous mines in Minnesota?