DEQ OKs permits for western U.P. copper, silver mine

IRONWOOD (AP) – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has tentatively approved the last major permit needed for construction of a copper and silver mine in the western Upper Peninsula.

The permit deals with protection of wetlands, inland lakes and streams, the DEQ said Friday. It will become final after being signed by Orvana Minerals Corp. and state officials.

The DEQ said Orvana made numerous changes in its original proposal to limit environmental damage in response to government and public comments. Among them were replacing culverts with bridges, adding wetland preservation tracts and using natural design instead of ditches for channels that will divert streams around a waste rock basin.

Officials said they’ve also amended a permit granted earlier that will allow Orvana to build and operate the mine near Ironwood.