Thursday, June 01, 2017

Guest article: A Highland Map of Lake Superior Mining

By Louis V. Galdieri
Posted May 31 on his blog, lvgaldieri*
Reprinted with permission


UPX Minerals Map courtesy Highland Copper and Louis Galdieri. (Click on map for larger version)

It would be instructive to lay this map, published today (May 31, 2017) by Highland Copper, over the map of Mines, Mineral Exploration, and Mineral Leasing around Lake Superior published in 2013 by the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Having acquired all of Rio Tinto’s exploration properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Highland now dominates sulfide-mining exploration in the UP.

A multi-billion dollar mining behemoth like Rio Tinto could arguably have left these copper, zinc and gold sites idle for a rainy day. The same can’t be said about a junior like Highland. With market capitalization of $62 million, the company paid $2 million at closing, leaving its subsidiary on the hook for an additional $16 million (in the form of a non-interest bearing promissory note), to be paid in regular installments.

According to company’s own press release, "the payments…will be accelerated if Highland publicly releases a feasibility study covering any portion of the UPX properties." So once exploration begins with test drilling in 2018, we might see efforts to expedite permitting and development for these sites.

If UPX succeeds in taking even a fraction of these sulfide-mineral deposits from exploration to development, and if these new mines are developed under the pressure of an accelerated payment schedule, the risk to the Lake Superior watershed will be significantly heightened.

* Guest author Louis V. Galdieri is a writer and filmmaker based in New York City. He and fellow filmmaker Ken Ross visited Houghton, Mich., in October 2013 and screened their documentary 1913 Massacre, about the Italian Hall tragedy. Click here for his blog.

Editor's Note: See our May 12, 2017, article, "DEQ cites Highland Copper's wetlands, soil erosion violations from mining exploration in Porkies, along CR 519."

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