The state Department of Environmental Quality previous issued three other permits, and now approved the "wetlands, lakes, and streams" permit to Aquila Resources for the planned gold, zinc, and copper mine.
"This is a very significant milestone for Aquila and substantially completes a robust environmental permitting process in Michigan," Barry Hildred, Aquila president/CEO, said in a news release. "We can now focus the company's resources on the pre-construction phase at Back Forty while considering funding alternatives to complete the development of the mine. I want to thank our entire expanded team for all of their efforts in helping us achieve this significant milestone, and we look forward to building a world-class project in Michigan."
The letter issued by DEQ requires Aquila to take several steps before work can begin:
“Construction activity with regulated wetland and streams is not authorized to begin until all the required data and plans have been submitted and are approved by the MDEQ,” it says.
Among the activities authorized by the permit:
While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had filed objections to the permits, those issues have been resolved, the DEQ says.
The Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River issued a statement noting there are many steps Aquila must take before construction can begin.
"There are numerous issues that were not addressed during the application process that will materialize in the future.... People who love our land and water--including our indigenous brothers and sisters--and those who have raised their children here and want to see their grandchildren grow up in this area, are the same people who will stand firm in total opposition to the proposed Aquila mine. This certainly is not the end of our opposition; it is the resurrection of government 'of the people, for the people, and by the people.' We stand united with organizations all across the State of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, and we are in it for the long haul," it says.