Mines, pits and quarries
Mining has always been an important part of the Wisconsin way of life. From the native peoples of the Lake Superior copper culture to the recent successful reclamation of the Flambeau copper and gold mine, extraction of marketable minerals has always been a valued industry. Even the state's nickname pays homage to our mining past, as the original "Badgers" were lead and zinc miners that populated the Upper Mississippi lead district.
Today, most mining in Wisconsin occurs as nonmetallic mining, producing rock, stone, sand, gravel, limestone and other materials used for industry, construction, road building, agriculture and many other purposes. These mines are often called quarries or pits.
Local governments have primary responsibility for regulating nonmetallic mines, but the DNR provides oversight for local reclamation programs and ensures that quarries, gravel pits and other operations meet state reclamation requirements. Nonmetallic mining operations must also get DNR water permits, and some need air permits.
Metallic mining involves the extraction of minerals bearing metals such as iron, copper, gold, lead, silver and zinc. For ferrous (iron) and other metallic mining, the DNR is the state agency with primary responsibility for regulating environmental aspects of mining. Metallic mining operations may include an open pit or underground mine built to extract metal-bearing minerals. Proposed projects undergo comprehensive review to determine whether they will comply with state laws and rules.
- Ferrous (iron) mining