Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The GTAC Open Pit Mine And Some Comparisons

We are told the first phase of the iron ore mine enabled by the bill getting a hearing in Madison tomorrow would tear off the Penokee Hills at the headwaters of the Bad River and create a crater four miles long, and up to a mile wide, and perhaps 700-1,000 feet deep.

The iron ore is said to run for 22 miles.

For comparisons, imagine what an open pit mine four miles long, a mile wide and up to 1,000 feet deep would look like across these landmarks, and distances taken from Google maps.

Madison City Hall to the Oscar Mayer plant on Madison's east side - - 3.5 miles.

Milwaukee City Hall to the UWM Student Union on Milwaukee's east side  - - 3.2 miles.

Miller Park to the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower (via National Ave.) - - 3.8 miles.

Get the picture?

File:Kittilla, Finland; Open Pit Mine.jpg

And if the full 22 miles were dug?

Milwaukee City Hall to Waukesha City Hall - - 19.2 miles.

Lambeau Field to Pulaski - - 20 miles.

Madison City Hall to Lake Mills - - 23 miles.


Anonymous said...

It looks like we will soon have our own little grand canyon in northern Wisconsin. I can't wait to visit it.

GeoGirl said...

Last year I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation inspired by Jeff Stone. If you put one corner of the mine at the corner of 76th and Coldspring (Southridge Mall) and ran it north along 76th Street - the first phase would go all the way to the railroad tracks at Burnham Ave. in West Allis.

If you think about all of the disruption that would cause - Southridge Mall would be gone, all of the commercial development along 76th Street would disappear. That's a lot of economic activity and tax base that Greendale & field would be missing. If you lived at 60th and Oklahoma and you needed to get to 84th and Oklahoma, you'd need to go really far south or all the way in to West Allis to even get to the other side of town. And that's just the hole. If you consider how much room the overburden piles will take, double the area.

So figure - there could be no development between 76th - 70th, Coldspring (Greendale) to Burnham Ave (West Allis).

I was hoping to find out how far the blasting could be heard, how much particulate would be in the air and how much would get to Lake Michigan - aka our drinking water. No one down here has any idea how massive the project will be, and what the impact will be.

Anonymous said...

"It looks like we will soon have our own little grand canyon in northern Wisconsin. I can't wait to visit it.

Complete with a pool at the bottom so acidic you risk skin burns if you dip your foot in. (For precedent, google the Rio Tinto in Spain.)

Anonymous said...

Also, google the Berkeley Pit.

Lovely gift Walker wants to give Ashland, WI.

Anonymous said...

Gripping the comparison to urban landmarks. Why not compare it to other vast barely inhabited areas.

James Rowen said...

Most people live in cities: these examples are relatively familiar to most Wisconsinites.

And remember: all water is connected, hydrologically, and in the law (The Public Trust Doctrine, Act IX of the Wisconsin Constitution.)