March 11, 2012
Now you tell us!
The Wisconsin State Journal wanted a big mine in northern Wisconsin, so it appears the editors kept damaging information buried. Now that mining probably will not happen, the WSJ tells readers that it would have been incredibly expensive and dangerous. Thanks a lot!
Here are some facts just now coming to the surface. Extracting iron from Penokee would be very expensive and tough. One expert said that is why the company proposed a 1,000-foot-deep mine. She went on to say the rock holding the iron was tilted upright by geologic forces at a 60-degree angle. Getting at the deepest sections would require going deep into the earth. That being the case, Gogebic would have to remove an enormous amount of rock from above the iron deposit. Some 83 million cubic meters of rock would have had to have been removed to reach the iron. Yikes!
Most experts also believe the rock sitting on top of the actual iron deposit contains sulfides. When sulfides are exposed to water and air, toxic acid drainage is created. WSJ's editors' response: Hey, don't worryaboutit!
Forget about trout streams and the Bad River. As for the tribes? Oh well. Destruction of wetlands and on and on.
The Cap Times Wednesday print edition is going so well, why not a Sunday version?
Great crowd at the Capitol to celebrate the anniversary of the uprising. WSJ said 35,000, more reliable sources said 50-60,000. Whether it was 35,000 or double that, the fervor remains.
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All that work and destruction to get to the ore body. Hmmm. Wouldn't it be easier to hire junkmen to go around the state and clean up auto junkyards? I know a dandy just outside of Sturgeon Bay where they could start.
-Griebnotz Doerkpfester | (Glad) I Escaped, WI. | March 11, 2012
That incredible expense could have practically eliminated a net proceeds tax. This is one of many reasons not to tax profits. Rather than tax the back end of the process, taxes should be on the front end where economic effort meets the earth. There at the very beginning the opportunity cost of the mine can be opined.
The low grade iron ore in the earth is better than money in the bank since fiat money only decreases in value as the Fed prints on. Conversely, the taconite will only increase in value being that Mother Earth is not making any more. Future opportunity costs will have to consider the compromising of the unique water wealth of the area that will only increase in value and perhaps in basin quantity in a warming world.
A series of severance and pollution taxes might be considered. First a severance tax on the total rock removed, in this case 83 million cubic meters. Then a severance tax on the actual paydirt. Any sulfides meeting the acid test would be the occasion for a toxic drainage pollution tax. Wetland loss would probably be mitigated at this point with the flight of the mining company to points where profits are taxed and natural resource inputs are gratis.
-Ernest Martinson | Hayward Wisconsin | March 11, 2012
Just cleaning up our ravines and fields of scrapped implements and appliances would provide jobs and resources for smelters.
-pietr haikuu | hurley | March 11, 2012
So true, Ed. The "science" of the fake distinction between "ferrous" mining and other kinds of mining was purposely ignored in the mining bill. We now know, as Sen. Fitzgerald has admitted, that the mining company wrote the bill. It was left to citizen geologists and those "nutty" UW and Lawrence U. professors to enlighten the Legislature about the sulfides in the rock over the taconite. But their testimony was (to quote one of the geologists) "too sciency" for the jobs and joint finance committees. They were intent on delivering the goods to Gogebic Taconite. These are the same folks who believe global warming is caused by sunspots. Or maybe that was US Senator Ron Johnson. GTac has made it clear from their hasty retreat that they had no interest in "responsible" mining, just a quick buck--thank you.
-Patricia K Hammel | Madison WI | March 12, 2012