Flambeau Mine Restoration

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Flambeau Before and after Reclamation

September 22, 2001 was the grand opening of the new four mile recreational trailsystem on the reclaimed Flambeau copper mine site in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.  Thetrails will be open to the public for non-motorized recreation including hikingand cross country skiing.

Newly Opened Walking Trails Sept 2001 

Wetlands Sept 2001

Above 3 Photos courtesy of Rouleen Gartner

Ground View of After

Mining of copper ore at this pit ceased in early summer of 1997 and the site was returned to the approximate original surface contours. The topsoil was spread and over 10 acres of wetlands were constructed. Over one hundred species of native grasses, plants and trees are now established on the reclaimed mine site. An abundance of wildlife – fox, ducks, frogs, snakes, turtles, shorebirds, etc. – have been observed on the reclaimed site. In partnership with the Ladysmith Wisconsin Community Industrial Development Corporation, approximately 32 acres of the reclaimed mine site were set aside for future uses that will provide sustaining economic benefits to local communities. In a partnership with the city, more than three miles of permanent walking trails are being constructed over the reclaimed site. Open to the public, the trails will provide opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, bird watching and other nature experiences. The trail system will also provide educational opportunities to learn about mine land reclamation.  The river water quality was unaffected by the mines’ operation, and monitoring of the Flambeau River will continue for several years to ensure there are no impacts from the reclaimed site. Ground water monitoring will continue for 40 years.  The Flambeau Mine is a success story. The reclaimed site continues to meet all stringent environmental regulations and permit requirements and to be positive for the local community and the environment. For additional info, visit their website at http://www.kennecottminerals.com

Facts about The Flambeau Mine

  • The Flambeau Mine has met all of the requirements set forth in its 11 operating permits issued by theWisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Those permits contain more than 200 special conditions.They regulate every aspect of the project. They require monitoring and regular reporting to the DNR. TheDNR has made numerous visits- both scheduled and unannounced- to the mine to observe operation.
  • Flambeau has honored the terms of local agreements with Rusk County, the City of Ladysmith andthe Town of Grant.
  • More than three-fourths of the jobs at the Flambeau Mine were held by local residents duringoperation of the mine.
  • More than $10 million in state and local taxes paid by the mine have come back into local communities.
  • The Flambeau Mine conducts environmental monitoring more than 2400 times a year. Monitoring showsthat the Flambeau Mine has had no adverse effect on air quality, groundwater quality, the FlambeauRiver or aquatic life.
  • The water management system at the mine has successfully prevented water from the site from enteringthe river untreated.
  • The Flambeau Mine has paid double the net proceeds taxes that it originally estimated. Taxes fromthe Flambeau Mine helped fund job opportunities in Rusk County through expansion of some businessoperations and the creation of new ones.
  • Voluntary contributions from the Flambeau Mine have benefited educational projects, health care andother worthwhile programs that make Rusk County communities better places to live.
  • The Flambeau Mine made a $500,000 contribution that has helped build the new Rusk County CommunityLibrary. In addition, the $500,000 of Flambeau Mining Company taxes paid to Ladysmith and Rusk Countyalso went toward building the Library.
  • Flambeau has posted a bond that ensures successful reclamation of the site.
  • Flambeau is responsible for monitoring groundwater at the site for a minimum of 40 years.
  • Flambeau Mining Company and its parent company, Kennecott Minerals are responsible foreverfor the environmental safety of the site. This responsibility applies to any successors or future owners.
  • Since 1993 the mine successfully operated without any violations, citations or complaints to the present day.This is a truly outstanding accomplishment since the mine is within 140 feet of the Flambeau River, 500 feetof Highway 27, within 1000 feet of private residences and 2500 feet of a liberal arts college, Rusk Countyhospital and nursing home.