The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced Wednesday that they have issued a surface water discharge permit for the Back Forty mine, located in Menominee County, Michigan. The Back Forty mine has been heavily protested, which includes the Menominee Indian Tribe.
Community organizer for the Menominee Indian Tribe, Guy Reiter, argues that the mining poses a threat to the water resources.
“The mining company will say that they’re going to offer local people 250 jobs, but this river offers life, and it gives you life everyday,” Reiter said.
In February, the University of Michigan Office of Research confirmed the tribe’s affiliation with the land in Menominee County, Michigan, another reason the tribe has strongly opposed the mining.
The permit was awarded to Aquila Resources, which is developing a gold and zinc facility, but that say they intend to follow environmental guidelines.
“Aquila is very proud of this milestone achievement given that the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System satisfies both State and Federal regulations as it pertains to protecting the Menominee River and surrounding watershed,” CEO of Aquila Resources Barry Hildred said in a statement.
With this issued permit, Aquila still needs to obtain a wetlands protection permit, which could be filed in June.