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Your Views: Hazardous rock pose risks for mining in Penokee Hills

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November 16, 2013

Northland College geoscience professor Tom Fitz, found grunerite rocks last month in the Penokee Hills. Grunerite contains asbestos form fibers. It wasn’t planted there because it was found in bedrock.

U.S. geological surveys also recorded its presence there in 1954, 1976 and 1979.

Fitz was questioned at a public hearing in Ashland County soon after his findings. He said the mining company wets down grunerite as a precaution when it is disturbed. He didn’t know what the company would do in freezing weather.

The area also has pyrite, which when exposed to air and water creates sulfuric acid. The pyrite would have to be kept dry.

So the trick is to keep the rocks wet and dry when disturbed. The best solution is not to mine in the Penokee Hills.

ED JEANNETTE

Edgerton



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