"The State of Michigan on Friday announced its intention to approve, over tribal protests, an open pit mine near burial and other culturally important sites in the Upper Peninsula.
The mine would provide an economic boost to the region and metals such as gold, zinc, copper and silver that fuel our tech- and gadget-driven lifestyle. But would come at the expense of land and water that is central to the existence of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. The decision comes as Native Americans across the country are unifying to buck the trend of development on off-reservation land.
The mine, dubbed the Back Forty, straddles the Michigan-Wisconsin border and has been in the works for more than a decade. The mine would cover about 83 acres near the headwaters of the Menominee River. The company seeking the mine permit, Canada-based Aquila Resources Inc., estimates the mine will yield 532,000 ounces of gold, 721 million pounds of zinc, 74 millions pounds of copper, 4.6 million ounces of silver and 21 million pounds of lead—metals crucial for cell phones, computers, cars and other modern-day conveniences."