- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A Canadian company is showing renewed interest in developing an open-pit mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, not far from the Wisconsin border.

Aquila Resources Inc. recently filed an application to build a mine along the Menominee River, which divides Michigan from northeastern Wisconsin and flows into Green Bay. The company says it will invest more than $300 million to extract gold, copper, zinc and silver from the site.

A University of Minnesota Duluth study commissioned by Aquila said the project would generate more than $20 million in new tax revenue for federal, state and local governments annually, and that more than $16.5 million in royalties would flow to Michigan’s state government over the 16-year life of the mine.

In addition to 1,330 construction jobs, it would generate about 450 new jobs at the mine and surrounding four-county area, according to the study.

Regulators in Michigan held their first public hearing on the application last week, and the several hundred supporters and opponents attended, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/1PSalHw ).

The Menominee Indian tribe, based in Keshena, Wisconsin, has expressed concern about the mine’s impact on burial grounds and other cultural resources.

The River Alliance of Wisconsin is raising concerns about the mine’s potential to pollute the Menominee River and harm efforts to boost the sturgeon population. Wastewater would be treated and discharged into the Menominee River.

Aquila’s chief executive officer, Barry Hildred, said the company has already spent $70 million on planning and scientific reports for the company’s mining application.

“It is paramount to us that we operate in a very environmentally friendly and very safe way,” Hildred said.

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