MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources’ policy board is expected to reconsider a plan to dramatically increase mining fees in Wisconsin.
The new rules would increase fees and costs for nonferrous mining operations by about $502,000 per project. They also would require companies to supply more detailed feasibility and construction plans to the department and establish new list of areas off-limits to mining, including wilderness areas designated by statute; wild and scenic rivers; wildlife refuges; state natural areas; and areas with endangered animals or plants.
DNR officials say the changes are needed to comply with a 2017 law that reworked nonferrous mining permit standards. They added that Wisconsin’s mining rules haven’t undergone major revisions to reflect 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 over the past 40 years.
The board tabled the plan in December to allow the DNR to make technical changes to the wording. Department officials have completed those revisions and has asked the board to take the plan up again at its Jan. 27 meeting.
The rules are subject to gubernatorial and legislative approval.