MNR holds meeting on Aquila Resources lease application process for Back Forty mine

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MENOMINEE, Michigan (WLUC) – Aquila Resources has been working for years on the start-up of the Back Forty mine near the Menominee River.

On Tuesday, MNR’s Mineral Management Section held a briefing on Aquila’s application to lease mineral rights in Holmes and Lake Townships. The leases currently held by Aquila are about to expire.

“{Aquila Resources} has publicly revealed that more than 700 drill holes have been drilled to advance the Back Forty project since its initial discovery,” said Kirk Lapham, director of MMS. “Over 80% of the completed test wells recorded for the Back Forty project have been reported as plugged. “

An application to lease minerals from the state is one of the first steps in exploration. If approved by the MRN, it grants the company the exclusive right to explore for the presence of metallic minerals in specific areas.

A lease alone does not give the company a right to a mine. A mine requires permits and plan reviews.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) explained the status of Aquila’s permits. The license to mine non-ferrous metals was surrendered in May. The permit of the national pollution elimination system is under review. The installation permit was revoked and the wetland permit was refused.

“An administrative law judge earlier this year rendered a decision denying the prior issuance of this permit,” said Melanie Humphrey, geologist for the EGLE region. “The decision has not been appealed and is therefore still valid.”

Aquila says he is exploring an approach “that integrates open pit and underground mine plans.” The company says it is still working to secure the remaining permits needed to begin construction and operations at Back Forty.

Members of Coalition to SAVE the Menominee River shared their continued opposition to the project with the MRN today.

“Setting up a metal sulfide mine anywhere near the Menominee River is suicide for all of us and for generations to come,” said coalition supporter Mary Hansen.

“Aquila’s intention is to shift their interest in gold resources with offices in Denver, Colorado,” said Coalition Chairman Dale Burie. “Please don’t allow the State of Michigan to be a part of this massive Ponzi scheme. “

The public can comment on the mining lease application until the end of the month.

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