Sunday, June 10, 2012

UPDATED: MDEQ taking public comments on Orvana's Copperwood Project; public hearing to be June 28

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is holding a public comment period until Thursday, June 28, 2012, and a public hearing also on June 28, 2012, on Orvana Resources US Corp’s proposed installation and operation of a copper mining and ore processing facility known as the "Copperwood Project."

The facility is proposed to be located in Ironwood (T49N R46W) and Wakefield (T49N R45W) Townships, Gogebic County, Michigan. The public comment period and hearing are to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the Department’s proposed conditional approval of a Permit to Install (PTI). It has been preliminarily determined that the installation of the Copperwood Project will not violate any of the Department’s rules nor the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The facility’s impact will not exceed 80 percent of the available increments for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter less than ten microns.

According to Steve Casey, MDEQ Water Resources Division district supervisor of the Upper Peninsula District Office, who will be chairing the meeting, the Public Hearing is for the Air Quality, Wetlands and Inland Lakes and Streams permits.

"We will have the staff person who is preparing the NPDES water discharge permit in attendance too," Casey said. "So the public will be able to comment on air, water, wetland/inland lakes and streams issues (which will cover tailings placement)."

Copies of the Department staff’s analysis and proposed permit conditions are available for inspection at the following locations, or you may request a copy be mailed to you by calling 517-335-4607. Please reference Permit to Install Application Number 180-11.
UPPER PENINSULA: DEQ, AQD, 420 Fifth Street, Gwinn (Phone: 906-346-8300)
LANSING: DEQ, AQD, Constitution Hall, 3rd Floor, North Tower, 525 West Allegan Street (Phone: 517-335-4607)
IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP: N10892 Lake Road, Ironwood (Phone: 906-932-5800)
WAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP: 414 North County Road 519, Wakefield (Phone: 906-224-8551)
GOGEBIC COUNTY: 200 North Moore Street, Bessemer (Phone: 906-663-4518)

The public is encouraged to present written views on the proposed permit action. Written comments should be sent to Ms. Mary Ann Dolehanty, Permit Section Supervisor, MDEQ, AQD, P.O. Box 30260, Lansing, Michigan, 48909-7760. Comments may also be submitted from the webpage: (click on "Submit Comment" under the Orvana Resources US Corp, Permit to Install No. 180-11 listing). All statements received by June 28, 2012, will be considered by the decision-maker prior to final permit action.

On June 28, 2012, a public hearing will be held starting at 7 p.m. C.D.T. at Gogebic Community College, Lindquist Student Center -- Courtside Dining Area, 2nd Floor, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan. The sole purpose of the public hearing will be to take formal testimony on the record. During testimony, questions will not be answered; however, staff will be available to answer questions outside the hearing room.

Prior to the hearing, an informational session will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. C.D.T. also at Gogebic Community College, Lindquist Student Center -- Courtside Dining Area, 2nd Floor, E-4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood, Michigan. Staff will provide a brief introduction regarding the proposed project and will be available to answer questions.

Individuals needing accommodations for effective participation at the hearing should contact Ms. Cari DeBruler at 517-335-4607 one week in advance to request mobility, visual, hearing, or other assistance.

Part 632 Mining Permit for Orvana approved in April

On April 30, 2012, the MDEQ announced approval of a mining permit to Orvana Resources US Corp. for the proposed Copperwood Mine in Gogebic County, Michigan.

The department's decision followed a detailed review of Orvana's permit application, public comments and supplemental information to determine whether the proposed mining operation meets the strict standards of Michigan's mining law, Part 632 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.

Based on all information available, the DEQ has determined the application meets or exceeds the requirements for approval.

Additional permits are required for the Copperwood Mine, including permits for air emissions, water discharges, wetlands impacts, and inland lakes and streams modifications. The DEQ is still reviewing those applications.

The mining permit is not effective until all other Michigan environmental permits for the proposed mining operation are issued.

Click here for more MDEQ information about mining in Michigan.

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