Newsmakers: Mining in Northern Wisconsin – Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams
Bill Williams, president of Gogebic Taconite, said in a Newsmakers interview in his Hurley office on Oct. 11 that plans for the $1.5-billion open-pit iron mine in Ashland and Iron counties is on hold, until the Legislature and governor agree on changes to state mining laws. Williams also laid out the years it will take for the mine, if it is approved, to open — starting with two years to survey and retest the site, which would cost Gegobic Taconite between $20 million and $30 million; one year for an environmental impact statement to be completed, and then years to build the crushing and processing plant and the mine. He said about 700 new jobs in northern Wisconsin would not be created for three or four years, if the mine is approved. He also said the 4,000-acre mine would use a "closed loop" water recycling system, so it would pose no threat to groundwater systems in the 640,000-acre water recharging area relied on by local residents, the Bad River Tribe and local governments. Williams said Gogepic won’t wait forever for Wisconsin officials to rewrite state mining laws, but he refused to say how long state officials have to act before the mining company would turn to a project in another state.