Letter: Iron ore mining no longer feasible by Gerald Rau
Mining iron ore as done in the past is no longer feasible now or in the future. Today, steel companies use great amounts of scrap steel from junkyards. Extracting ore from the ground is expensive. Now, companies like NewCore Steel buy up entire junkyards and use everything that is metal in their furnaces. They and other modern steel companies use electric furnaces and not the old-fashioned smelting furnaces. Electrodes heat up the ingredients of the furnace to 3000 degrees and melt down old cars, stoves, refrigerators and water heaters. An entire batch of steel can be made entirely from scrap metal. This gives them a competitive edge over foreign mills, with their cheap labor. And we have lots of scrap metal. The need and demand for iron ore that is dug from the ground has diminished considerably.
Further, the fish resources of Lake Superior are growing in value to a degree that makes the risk of shore land contamination unacceptable. In a hatchery facility on the south shore of the lake in Wisconsin, UWSP is producing a variety of Arctic Char, a member of the brook trout family, for commercial use as a marketable fish. They are also planning to plant Arctic Char in Lake Superior because this fish needs very cold water with large amounts of oxygen. This same facility is also crossbreeding between the sauger and Lake Superior walleye, which will also be planted in the lake. A mature fish of this type is larger than the average walleye and has a sweeter flesh.
Not only is the GTAC mine not feasible as a profit-making mine, it cannot be allowed to develop because of its great threat to an important and growing fishery resource vital to all of us.
Governor Walker, Sen. Tiffany and others responsible for passing the recent mining bill have been very short-sighted. This bill must be rescinded.