Damakant Jayshi

Mining company Green Light Wisconsin has not yet provided additional information to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regarding its plan to undertake exploratory drilling for gold at the Easton Reef Deposit in Marathon County.

“No, GLW has not responded to the DNR’s additional information request,” DNR’s Metallic Mining Coordinator Molly Gardner told Wausau Pilot & Review.

The DNR sought additional information on the company’s Notice of Intent on October 22 last year.

This newspaper has reached out to the representatives of the company for their response, but they did not respond before press time. The reasons for the delay are unclear. In June, the company’s President & CEO said, “The exploratory work of this kind takes time, and our company is committed to satisfying the necessary regulatory requirements before drilling.”

Green Light Wisconsin, a subsidiary of Canada-based Green Light Metals, Inc., holds a Metallic Mineral Exploration License for conducting exploration in the State of Wisconsin – not specific to a project site with an expiration of June 30, 2024. The license, which can be renewed annually, was renewed in June.

Gardner said the project review clock is put on pause until the applicant provides the DNR with all of the requested information. Once a complete application is received, the DNR will resume the review process and issue a decision – approve, conditionally approve, or deny. For the Reef Deposit project, the Notice of Intent will need an updated schedule for a complete submission.

Some residents in Marathon County have opposed the exploratory drilling citing groundwater contamination and environmental pollution concerns. Bowing to that pressure, the Marathon County Board of Supervisors recently wrote a letter to the Wisconsin legislature seeking the return of local control over mining.

The residents also want a repeal of Wisconsin Act 134, which ended a moratorium law that had imposed stringent conditions on companies seeking to explore the state for minerals. The bill, passed by the Republican-led legislature and signed by then-Gov. Scott Walker, also a Republican, opened the state for mining exploration and effectively denied local government control over the matter.