Back 40 would benefit region
As communities across the Great Lakes are rediscovering their roots in mining — an industry that is significant to our heritage, central to our culture and vital to our economy — I would like to provide an update on the Back 40 project.
Over a decade ago, an area in Lake Township was discovered to be rich in zinc and gold, as well as copper and silver. Aquila Resources has applied and received from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality three of the four required permits to build the open pit mine. The fourth and final permit is for wetlands, with approval expected as soon as this winter.
Unfortunately, a recent Letter to the Editor in The Daily News (“A call for Rep. LaFave to fight Back 40 mine,” Aug. 29) raised more questions than answers.
The letter writer attempted to minimize the economic impact the Back 40 would have. Let’s look at the facts: an independent study conducted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth Labovitz School of Business and Economics found the Back 40 Mine would generate more than 250 new, good-paying jobs in the region. The tax revenue generated would exceed $20 million annually for local, state and federal governments, which means more money for roads, schools and other services essential to hard-working families. A mineral royalty would also go to the state.
Naturally, there are environmental groups concerned about mining no matter the economic opportunities it provides. But this does not have to be an either-or proposition. We know from science and experience that mining can be done smartly and safely while preserving and protecting the beautiful natural resources throughout the Great Lakes Region, including right here in Michigan.
To learn more about the Back 40 project, go to the website at www.aquilaresources.com/projects/back-forty-project/.
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(Lessard is a fourth-generation miner whose father, both grandfathers and great-grandfather were miners.)