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DNR holds meeting on Aquila Resources’ lease application process for Back Forty Mine

MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUC) – Aquila Resources has been working to start the Back Forty Mine near the Menominee River for years now.

On Tuesday, the DNR’s Minerals Management Section held an informational meeting about Aquila’s request to lease mineral rights in Holmes and Lake Townships. The leases Aquila currently holds are close to expiring.

“{Aquila Resources} have publicly disclosed that over 700 drill holes have been drilled to advance the Back Forty Project since its initial discovery,” said MMS Manager Kirk Lapham. “Over 80% of the completed test wells on record for the Back Forty Project have been reported to be plugged.”

An application to lease minerals from the state is one of the initial steps for exploration. If approved by the DNR, it grants the company the exclusive right to explore for the presence of metallic minerals in specific areas.

A lease alone does not grant the company a right to a mine. A mine requires permits and plan reviews.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) explained the status of Aquila’s permits. The Nonferrous Metallic Mining Permit was surrendered in May. The National Pollution Elimination Discharge System Permit is under review. The Permit to Install was voided, and the Wetlands Permit was denied.

“An administrative law judge, earlier this year, issued a decision denying the prior issuance of this permit,” said Melanie Humphrey, an EGLE Area Geologist. “The…

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