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Sites spur interest in Wis. gold mining revival (UPDATE)

By: Associated Press//November 28, 2011//

Sites spur interest in Wis. gold mining revival (UPDATE)

By: Associated Press//November 28, 2011//

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EASTON, Wis. (AP) — A drilling company is evaluating three possible gold mining sites in central and northern Wisconsin.

It is too early to say whether Aquila Resources, which is incorporated in Canada with U.S. offices in Menominee, Mich., will begin the long regulatory process to mine gold, company president Thomas Quigley told the Journal Sentinel.

But the company emphasized in third-quarter financial statements that “Aquila intends to be a mover in the state to acquire mineral properties and work toward permitting and commercial development.”

Wisconsin’s strongest site is an area of Marathon County, known as the Reef, which has proven gold reserves. Aquila said recent drilling in the Reef east of Wausau supports findings from the 1970s that the spot holds 119,000 ounces of gold, worth about $200 million at today’s prices.

“If you were to go anywhere in the world, this is where you would go,” Quigley said. “It’s conveniently located. It’s not in some remote corner of the world. There is good potential. And there’s an infrastructure to get it out.”

With the heavy capital costs required to mine the gold, “that’s not enough to warrant any great amount of work,” said Thomas J. Evans, assistant director of the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. “But there could be additional resources, and that’s what Aquila is” trying to find out.

Quigley said Wisconsin’s mining companies might be helped if regulations and timetables could be streamlined, though he said Aquila has not participated in that debate. The issue arose after Gogebic Taconite, of Hurley, put plans on hold in June for a $1.5 billion iron ore mine until lawmakers advance more favorable environmental regulations.

Environmental concerns have dogged the issue, especially in the Senate. There are signs an impatient Assembly may introduce a bill in the next week or so.

Quigley said Aquila favors streamlining regulations and timetables, but not if they weaken environmental safeguards.

Aquila also has received an exploration license to begin looking for gold this winter in the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, northwest of Medford.

Another site drawing interest is the Lynne deposit on county-owned land in Oneida County. Aquila, Tamerlane Ventures Inc. and Josephine Mining Corp., are evaluating the deposit, which includes zinc and other minerals.

Oneida County officials have not decided whether to open land to mining as they weigh environmental and economic issues.

Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,


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