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Officials Review Plan For Michigan Limestone Mine

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Autumn landscape of birch trees in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. (credit: istock)

Autumn landscape of birch trees in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (credit: istock)

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HUDSON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – A proposal under review by the state could allow a Canada-based supplier of lime and limestone products to acquire more than 10,000 acres of state-managed forest Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for use as a mine.

Graymont Inc.’s plan outlined Thursday includes the acquisition of about 7,820 acres for an underground limestone mine; about 1,780 acres for two surface mines; and an option to purchase 840 acres for the potential development of a limestone processing plant.

In the coming weeks, the DNR plans to process the company’s application and it will be reviewed following standard DNR policy and procedure, Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator with the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, said in a statement.

“The procedure entails the review of the proposal by staff at multiple levels in each of the resource-managing divisions within the DNR including Forest Resources, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and Recreation,” Wieber said. “The process is detailed, and feedback from the public is a critical component of the review process and will be taken into consideration before any decisions are made.”

The project would be in Mackinac County. The company plans a public meeting Tuesday night at the Hudson Township Hall. At the company’s request, the DNR said that state foresters, biologists and other key DNR staff plan to attend the meeting

Plans call for the DNR to keep a state-managed surface easement on all but about 1,500 acres of the underground mine portion so property would continue to be managed for its timber resources and open for recreational uses such as hunting, hiking and snowmobiling.

The about 1,500 acres not included in the surface easement would be used for mine support infrastructure, the state said.

A review of the application also will be conducted by the DNR’s Minerals Management division. Staff will make a recommendation to DNR Director Keith Creagh, who can make a final decision. That is expected at a future Natural Resources Commission meeting.

The sale of land wouldn’t necessarily mean approval of mining for the property, according to the DNR. Any mining proposal from Graymont will have to go through a regulatory review process with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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