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Concerns expressed about asbestos and sulfides at mine meeting

ASHLAND, Wis. (WSAU) - Concerned citizens met with Ashland County officials and geology experts Wednesday night to discuss the latest issues with a proposed northern Wisconsin mine. 

The discovery of an asbestos-like substance called Grunerite in ore samples has many people worried about the health implications if Gogebic Taconite proceeds with mining in the area. Northland College geology professor Tom Fitz told the crowd the Grunerite has been found at sample site number four, but also in other areas. He’s also concerned about sulfide minerals that can produce acidic drainage and threaten the water.

So far, G-Tac is waiting for analysis of samples. They also have to submit a final bulk sampling plan to the Department of Natural Resources.

County Board Chairman Pete Russo says they need to look out for the county, and they are considering ordinances to protect people from potentially dangerous emissions from the site like asbestos.

The mining company is not commenting until they see results of samples and file the bulk sampling plan. DNR officials estimate Gogebic Taconite will not be ready to proceed with bulk sampling until early next year.