Daily Archives: September 16, 2013

DNR asking questions about possible asbestos-like minerals in Penokees

GrueneriteBy Mike Simonson , WPR.org

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has expressed concern that asbestos-like fibers could be released from iron ore mining or sampling in far northern Wisconsin.

The focus is on a naturally occurring mineral called grunerite. DNR hydrogeologist Larry Lynch said grunerite is common in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Minnesota’s Iron Range and northern Wisconsin’s Penokee Range.

“It’s important because it can occur in a crystal form that is fibrous,” Lynch said. “It’s one of the minerals that’s referred to as asbestos or asbestos-form minerals.”

In most cases, grunerite is not fibrous, which means it wouldn’t take the shape of asbestos fibers. But Lynch said they need to find out if that’s the case at Gogebic Taconite’s proposed mining site near Mellen. Lynch said there could even be a problem with small-scale bulk-

sampling work, but he said he thinks steps proposed by Gogebic Taconite would make the process safe. Read More