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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Aquila Withdraws Latest Safety Permit Request

Issue Date: July 22, 2021

Aquila Resources has withdrawn its most recent Dam Safety Permit application for the controversial Back Forty Mine in Stephenson, Mich. according to copies of an e-mail exchange between Michael J. Foley, P.E. Director of Environment & Infrastructure, from the Aquila office in Stephenson, Mich. to Luke Trumble of Michigan EGLE (Department of Environment, Great lakes and Energy)

The e-mail copies were provided to the Peshtigo Times by staunch mine opponents Tom Boerner and Dale Burrie, president of the SAVE the Menominee River Coalition that is fighting to prevent development of the mine on the banks of the Menominee River on the Michigan side.

Foley states in his Friday, June 25 e-mail to Trumble: â€Please let this email serve as notice to the Department that Aquila Resources, Inc. hereby requests the permit application be withdrawn. We expect an update to the project to be unveiled later this year with the necessary permit applications to follow. Thank you for your assistance on this matter.â€

That e-mail was apparently sent in response to a June 23 e-mail from Trumble to Foley: â€I hope you are doing well. FYI, I wanted to follow up on this extension request email from midâ€March. Do you have any updates as to whether or not Aquila will be continuing with the current Dam Safety permit application, making modifications, or withdrawing and resubmitting at a later date.â€

On March 16, Foley had messaged to Trumble: â€To follow up on our call of last week. Aquila Resources, Inc. respectfully a requests an extension of time for the response to the questions posed by ELGE on the initial application for the Dam Safety Permit. This request is in addition to the time extension request of mid January.

â€As you probably saw in the press release by Aquila last week, we are looking at the possibility of changing some of the elements of the project to possibly enhance economics and simplify the project. Unless these studies conclude in the need for changes to the project and subsequent redesign of the necessary elements, the project as applied for is still the project that is being advanced,†that e-mail concluded.

Boerner told the Peshtigo Times he was submitting the e-mail copies as a substantiation of his comments regarding the Aquila Resources withdrawal of their most recent Dam Safety Permit Application.

â€To those opposing a mine this withdrawal of their Dam safety permit application was inevitable,†Boerner declared. â€Even if they didn't withdraw their application it was highly unlikely that such a dam design would ever be allowed in Michigan especially with most recent catastrophic failures and loss of life due to the collapse of dams with a similar upstream design.

â€EGLE received over 400 letters opposing Aquila's proposed upstream tailings dam design. In June 2020, a group of over 150 scientists, community organizations and NGOs from 24 countries called for banning upstream dams at new mines. Yet, this is what Aquila wanted because it is cheaper than doing it the right way,†Boerner continued. 

He added, â€Aquila Resources won't say it, but it is a fact: Aquila Resources has none of the necessary permits a mine would need. With the loss of the Part 303 Wetlands Contested case hearing, Aquila's subsequent abandonment of the Part 632 Mining Permit and the fact Aquila now says their mine would be an underground mine (it had been an open-pit), puts Aquila back to square one.â€

He said any lesser permits Aquila may have had must be moot, and asked, â€How can you issue a permit for a site that is no longer represented by the permit application?†He said Aquila also never noted that there are two Menominee County Roads running through the proposed mine site, and River Road runs right through the middle of what was to be the open-pit.

 According to Boerner, the Aquila Resources March 31, 2021 financial statement says they have spent $104-million dollars. â€This same report shows Aquila has a negative working capital of $1.8 million. (Repeat: Negative working capital!) And, there is no mine, no buildings, not even a fence? Going forward it looks worse as Aquila Resources has already sold in advance 85% of any silver and the first one hundred thousand ounces plus of any gold they might mine!†he declared.

 He concluded, â€To date there have been three Contested Case hearings. Despite the thousands of hours and millions of dollars spent on these hearings, Aquila is no further along in permitting a mine than they were years ago.â€


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