FELCH - The owner of the Groveland Mine in Felch has plans to clean up the area, provide jobs to the community, and ultimately produce aggregate products at the site.
"The Groveland Mine is rich in all kinds of resources and we're trying to clean it up and develop the property to use those resources and to provide local employment and improve the community," said Rockwood "Rocky" Bullard III, president of Michigan Mining LLC, which has owned the mine property since 2000.
Bullard added that cleaning up the 2,200 acre property is a lengthy process.
Lisa M. Hoffmann/The Daily News Photo
Joe Harteau, subcontractor for Michigan Mining LLC., stands next to a “Private Property” gate at the former Groveland Mine. There is no hunting or trespassing allowed on the mine property. Michigan Mining LLC’s goal is to turn the mine into a supplier of aggregate products.
"There are no automatic solutions. It is very expensive to develop aggregate or anything at the Groveland property," he said. "It was an iron mine and it would cost a half a billion dollars to get it going as an iron mine."
The Groveland Iron Ore Mine, once owned by the Hanna Mine, produced 2 million tons of pellets annually and employed 500 people. The last mine to close in Dickinson County, operations ceased on Jan. 31, 1981.
Bullard said the mine property has good roads and transportation is primarily by rail.
"The (former) underground mine is relatively isolated. There is rail transportation so the impact on the community will be fairly slight," Bullard said.
The mine started as an underground mine in the 1800s and was converted to an open pit mine in the 1940s or 1950s. The underground mine was established in a remote area that is still fairly remote.
Any roads leading to private property or the Groveland Mine have been posted as no trespassing or hunting.
Joe Harteau, subcontractor for Michigan Mining LLC, said north of the Groveland Mine Road, which is unmarked and a gravel road, is private property. Gates have been erected and signs are posted.
"The DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and the (Dickinson County) sheriff's department have been instructed to issue criminal trespass tickets without warning," he said.
South of the Groveland Mine Road is public.
The Hanna Mining Company donated to the state 5,637 acres in 1988, and the Groveland Recreation Area was created.
This land is part of the Copper County State Forest. The area is open to the public for fishing, hunting and other recreational activities.
Bullard said Michigan Mining's goal since the beginning has been to develop the property in a community positive way and to become part of the community.
The Groveland Mine is located in Felch, some 20 miles north of Iron Mountain.
"We have people who are committing their entire time to doing this. The remoteness is both good and bad because aggregate products can be pretty much found anywhere," Bullard said. "We walk on rock everyday."
Bullard added there are unique aspects of the aggregate on the Groveland Mine property.
"It's very, very hard, very blocky, and it is especially good for certain applications such as rip rap, shoreline armour, and also makes extraordinarily good railroad ballast," he said.
For more information on the company, visit michiganminingllc.com or railballast.com.
"Everything is in play. We are looking for companies that are interested in developing," Bullard said.
Those interested can call Bullard at (248) 623-3888 ext. 25.
Lisa M. Hoffmann's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.