- Metallic mining
- Contact information
- For information on metallic mining, contact:
- Larry Lynch
Statewide Metallic Mining Coordinator
Bureau of Environmental Analysis and Sustainability
Recent and potential metallic mining projects in Wisconsin
Click on the tabs below for short descriptions of metallic mineral deposits in Wisconsin that are currently being explored for mining or were the sites of recently closed mines.
In addition to the deposits described in the tabs below, you can read information about the closed Flambeau Mine and its reclamation.
Location: Chequamegon National Forest, Taylor County
The Bend Copper-Gold Deposit is located approximately 19 miles north-northwest of the city of Medford in Taylor County, within the Chequamegon National Forest. The deposit was originally discovered in 1986 and drilled in the early 1990s by the Jump River Joint Venture. The deposit is mostly copper-bearing sulfides with significant gold and minor amounts of silver in two overlapping zones, totaling an estimated 4.23 million tons of ore. Aquila Resources has obtained an exploration license from the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is in the process of re-evaluating the deposit. If this deposit is ever developed it would likely be an underground mine.
The DNR performed a site inspection in January 2012 and exploratory drilling began in the same month.
Location: Forest County
Exxon discovered the Crandon deposit, located on private property approximately five miles south of the city of Crandon, in 1976. Companies made two unsuccessful attempts at permitting, first in the 1980s and later between 1994 and 2003. The Chippewa and Potawatomi tribes purchased the site in 2003. There is no current mining activity.
The ore deposit is 4,900 feet long, 2,200 feet deep and 100 feet wide. It has an estimated 55 million tons of ore containing zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. Had the deposit been mined, it would have been an underground mine with approximately 550 acres of surface processing and disposal areas.
Location: Oneida County
The Lynne deposit was discovered in 1990 by Noranda Exploration and is located on forestry land owned by Oneida County within the town of Lynne. It is primarily a zinc sulfide ore with significant lead and silver and minor amounts of gold and copper. The deposit is estimated to be approximately 5.6 million tons recoverable by open pit mining. Mining companies are considering further exploration and are working with Oneida County's forestry department and the county's mining impact committee to obtain exploration and development leases.
Location: Eastern Marathon County
The Reef Deposit is a potential high-grade gold deposit located in the town of Easton in Marathon County. Although the occurrence of gold has been known in this area for many years, the current deposit was drilled and described by Noranda Exploration in the 1970s and 1980s. The deposit was estimated to contain up to 454,000 tons of high-grade gold reserves in scattered, shallow weathered sulfides and quartz breccias. The Aquila Resources company has acquired options on the mineral and surface rights and is conducting exploration drilling. If this deposit is developed, it would likely be an open pit mine.
The DNR issued an exploration license to Aquila Resources in spring 2011 and performed a site inspection in May 2011. Phase I of the exploratory drilling program began in July 2011 and continued until September 2011 with the completion of 24 boreholes. Phase II of the drilling program started in January 2012 to access sites too wet for drilling in the summer.
Michigan Back 40
Michigan Back 40 Deposit
Location: Town of Stephenson, Menominee County, Michigan
The Back 40 zinc and gold deposit is located in Michigan, just across the Menominee River from Wisconsin, approximately 21 miles north of Menominee, Michigan, and Marinette, Wisconsin.
The proposed Back 40 Mine project is located in Michigan; therefore, the State of Michigan has exclusive permitting authority for the proposed mine. Aquila Resources applied to the State of Michigan for the required permits to mine the deposit in late 2015. The State of Michigan released draft permits in September 2016. A public hearing was held in October 2016 and comments on the draft permits were taken until November 3, 2016.
The applicant will not need to apply for any permits in Wisconsin. Because the project is located near the Wisconsin border and the Menominee River, a shared resource of both states, the Wisconsin DNR has been following the project and has coordinated with the State of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) from scoping the project through the present. Wisconsin DNR staff reviewed the applications and draft permits and attended the public hearings. Specifically, DNR water quality staff thoroughly reviewed the surface water discharge permit application and Michigan's draft surface water discharge permit – as required by the Clean Water Act, the proposed discharge meets Wisconsin's water quality standards.
Specific questions or concerns regarding the proposed Back 40 Mine should be directed to Joe Maki, MDEQ Mine Project Coordinator, at 906-250-4015.