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DNR board to consider mining fee increases next week

The Flambeau open pit copper mine in Ladysmith in February 2014. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Rick Wood,File)

The Flambeau open pit copper mine in Ladysmith in February 2014. The state Department of Natural Resources’ policy board is expected to reconsider a plan to greatly increase fees and costs for nonferrous-mining operations by about $502,000 for each project. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/Rick Wood)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources’ policy board is expected to reconsider a plan to greatly increase mining fees in Wisconsin.

The new rules would increase fees and costs for nonferrous-mining operations by about $502,000 for each project. They also would require companies to supply detailed construction plans to the department and establish new lists of places that are off-limits to mining, including wilderness areas designated by statute; wild and scenic rivers; wildlife refuges; state natural areas; and places with endangered animals or plants.

DNR officials say the changes are needed to comply with a 2017 law that reworked the standards for nonferrous-mining permits. They added that Wisconsin’s mining rules haven’t undergone big revisions in response to statutory changes since 1982.

Nonferrous mining refers to mining for minerals other than iron, such as copper, gold and silver. The DNR has approved only one new nonferrous mine in the past 40 years.

The board tabled the plan in December to allow the DNR to make technical changes to its wording. Department officials have completed those revisions and have asked the board to take the plan up again at its Jan. 27 meeting.

The rules are subject to gubernatorial and legislative approval.

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