MDEQ Announces Proposed Permit Decision on Aquila Resources Back Forty Project, Seeks Public Comment

September 2, 2016

For More Information:
Joe Maki, 906-228-4853, makij3@michigan.gov
Michael Shore, 517-388-9211, shorem2@michigan.gov

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) announced today its proposed decision to grant a mining permit to Aquila Resources for the Back Forty Project, a proposed gold, zinc and copper mine and processing facility in Lake Township, Mich. and a public hearing to be held October 6, 2016.

The MDEQ determined the application meets the requirements for approval under Michigan’s mining law, Part 632 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, which requires that mining operations must be protective of natural resources, the environment, and public health and safety.

As part of the decision-making process, the MDEQ is seeking comments from interested persons on the proposed mining permit decision, as well as two other pending permit decisions for the project: an air emissions and surface waters discharge permit. The MDEQ will hold one consolidated hearing and public comment period for all three permit decisions to ensure convenience for citizens. A fourth permit application for impacts to wetlands will be considered by the MDEQ in a separate review process.

The public hearing will be held at Stephenson High School on October 6, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CST to accept public comment on the proposed decisions. The Department will also accept written comments until November 3, 2016. The MDEQ is required by law to issue a final mining permit decision on or before December 1, 2016. However, the decision date may be extended if additional information from Aquila is needed to address issues raised by public comments. 

Aquila submitted its permit application on November 11, 2015. A team of technical experts from the MDEQ and Michigan Department of Natural Resources carried out a thorough review of the application and required Aquila to submit extensive additional information. The MDEQ also held a public meeting on the application on January 5, 2016 and received public comments throughout the review process.

For more information about Aquila Resources and the Back Forty project, visit: www.aquilaresources.com/projects/back-forty-project.

For more information about the MDEQ, visit: www.michigan.gov/deq.   

The DEQ is dedicated to respect for Michigan's citizens, stewardship of the environment, and support for a sustainable economy.