It is the vision of WICOLA to see that the water of White Iron, Farm Garden, and Birch lakes remain clean and pure forever. A beautiful place to live and visit. A safe place to swim, boat and fish. A lake system where the recreational users are courteous and responsible to each other and the residents of its shores. An area where everyone will work together for the common good of the community.
Position Statement Board of Directors Approval, May 12, 2014, Membership August, 2014
WICOLA's mission and vision require us to take a position on threats to water quality in our watershed. To date, WICOLA has taken no position on mining in Northeastern Minnesota. Since Twin Metals is proceeding with a plan for copper-nickel mining located in the Kawishiwi Watershed, WICOLA's involvement is necessary.
The potential threats to water quality that will accompany this project are very like those described in the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for PolyMet's NorthMet project. PolyMet's SDEIS confirms that sulfide bearing rock and ore from copper-nickel mining and processing will, when exposed to air and water, release pollutants which necessitate treatments of that water for 200 to 500 years or more.
Pollutants include toxic heavy metals and sulfates which are harmful to wild rice and promote absorption of mercury into fish. Additional contaminants include arsenic, manganese and lead. In its SDEIS PolyMet describes extensive precautions to prevent these pollutants from leaching into the ground water. These precautions will require financial assurances that extend this protection indefinitely.
WICOLA, as a steward of the White Iron Chain of Lakes, will closely review the plans of Twin Metals and other proposed projects that potentially degrade our water environment and will act to promote clean water. WICOLA is committed to preserving the high water quality of the unique watershed we inhabit. We embrace the federal and state requirements that our chain of lakes, which flow into the BWCAW, remains pure and unpolluted.
WICOLA will continue to provide information on mining projects in our region. But because things happen quickly, you may want to look at other sources of information;
PO Box 493
Ely, MN 55731
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