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If fully permitted, the Back Forty will be a large open-pit sulfide mine on the bank of the Menominee River, the largest watershed in Michigan’s wild Upper Peninsula. The wall of the mine pit will be only 100 feet from the river. Milling is also proposed to take place on the site, using cyanide and other chemicals, with mine waste stored at the mine site, and some tailings waste remaining permanently. Most of the rock will be "reactive" or capable of producing acid mine drainage (AMD) when exposed to air and water. AMD devastates watersheds: it is difficult and expensive to remediate, and may continue leaching from the tailings for hundreds or thousands of years. American Rivers named the Menominee River to their list of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers” in 2017.


 Aquila Resources seeks to destroy 28.4 acres of wetlands at the site in order to build the Back Forty sulfide mine: “Direct Impacts” (excavation and fill) of 11.2 acres, and 17.2 acres of “Indirect Impacts” (including loss of groundwater and surface water. It is an alarming proposal, given the proximity of wetlands to the Menominee River. Environmentalists are concerned about Aquila’s plan to follow the orebody deeper underground, and note that the Back Forty site is complex, hydrologically, with wetlands on all sides, flowing in different directions. Total wetland impacts may be significantly underestimated.

Concerned? Read the Back Forty Wetland Permit application and be prepared to speak out!

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