The Flambeau Mine was the first mine permitted and operated under Wisconsin’s stringent modern mining laws. These laws are some of the toughest in the nation and cover everything from mining to reclamation. The Flambeau Mine met the high standards and kept its promise to the community: to ensure environmentally responsible mining that provides the minerals we all depend on, protects the natural resources we all value and offers sustainable economic benefits to local communities.
PROTECTING THE RIVER
The Flambeau River is a crown jewel of Wisconsin’s waterways. The river flows next to the mine site and is a major attraction for tourists, paddlers, and fishermen. The river was fully protected at every stage of the mine project. Groundwater flowing into the open pit mine, run-off from ore and waste rock piles as well as leachate was collected and pumped into surface holding ponds. The water was transported to the Flambeau Mine Water Treatment Plant where it was cleaned and returned to the Flambeau River. During operation, this plant treated over 600 million gallons of water from the mine site. Water was returned to the Flambeau River cleaner than Wisconsin permit standards required.
Throughout construction, Flambeau River aquatic life and river bottom were monitored, confirming that there were no changes in water quality over the life of the mine. More than 1,000 analyses were performed both upstream and downstream, including studies on water quality, sediments, crayfish, walleye and insects in the river.
PROTECTING GROUND WATER
Safe and clean drinking water is critical to Wisconsin citizens. The Local Agreement required a guarantee from the Flambeau Mining Company that the wells near the mine site would be clean and safe. Tests show conclusively that ground water quality surrounding the site is as good as it was before mining. Monitoring will continue for 40 years to ensure future ground water protection.