By JOHN FLESHER
AP Environmental Writer
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan regulators have issued the final required permit for a proposed open-pit mine in the Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin line, although the company still has to take additional steps to protect natural resources.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the wetlands permit requires Aquila Resources to produce a stronger plan for monitoring groundwater and modeling how it flows. The mining company also must develop measures to prevent spills of both any chemicals that will be used and stored at the site and of pollution from waste rock.
Also required is a plan showing how the mine can be closed in a way that will protect surface and ground water.
Aquila’s Back Forty project would produce gold, zinc and copper near the Menominee River.
The Menominee Indian Tribe and other opponents say they’re disappointed with the DEQ decision and will continue fighting the planned mine.