Project would employ 100 residents for at least 10 years
The closures of the Smurfit Stone Paper Mill and White Pine Copper Refinery have made it a tough year for the Western U.P. but the Canadian based Orvana Company has announced it’s moving forward with plans for a new copper mine in Gogebic County.
If all goes well, County Road 519 could soon become much more traveled – taking at least a hundred residents back to work.
It’s all a part of the Copperwood Project – a plan by the Orvana Resources U.S. Corporation to open a temporary mine north of Wakefield.
“Geologists have known there was a steady ore body there for years; it was just a matter of time before mineral rights were secured,” says Project Coordinator Dave Anderson. ?”We’re hoping to build a copper mine to last for about 10 and a half years.”
The company just finished a mandatory two year environmental study of the site. Now they’re working to submit their permit application by next spring and also receiving assistance from the Western U.P. Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) in obtaining federal grants.
“They have to upgrade County Road 519 and punch up a new road to the mine site,” says WUPPDR Executive Director Kim Stoker. ?”Our job is to assist the road commission and coordinate activities with MDOT.”
Construction on the Copperwood mine could begin by 2012 with production starting up a year later.
Everyone involved with the project is hoping the mine will have a positive effect on the local economy, even after production stops.
“This is a seed,” Anderson says. ?”We’ll leave behind infrastructure – water infrastructure, improved roads and improved power grid systems – and those infrastructure elements should be used to develop other types of businesses.”
Orvana says they’ve had local support from the beginning but they plan to keep the public up to date as the project progresses.