Aug 26-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: August: Aug 26-08
Entrance    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Katie Tormala
Observation platform    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Katie Tormala
Information    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Katie Tormala
Pit mine view    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Katie Tormala
What's this in the distance?    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Katie Tormala

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 04:54 am:

To get to the Republic Mine, you either travel 25 miles southwest of Ishpeming or 45 miles north of Iron Mountain on M-95. I'm not sure which way Katie Tormala, took, but she ended up entering the gate in the top photo. Then she spotted the observation platform in today's second photo, but before going up the steps to take in the view of the pit mine, she stopped to read one of the informational signs about the pit mine operation there. If I had to guess what the last two photos were, I'd have to say we're looking at one of the many lakes located around the U.P. When in reality, that's the 600 foot deep, 250 acre "pit" of the once active mining operation, which was flooded back in the late 90's. Up until 1981, when the Republic Mine closed, it was an active iron ore pellet mine operation that shipped approximately 1.5 million tons of concentrated iron ore pellets annually. The property was purchased by a private company in 2007 and I'm not clear if it still remains open for free public viewing. Maybe someone more "in the know" (like Capt. Paul?), can answer that and give us a bit more information about this long-term profitable venture into mining 88% pure iron oxide ore.

By Gary Hookway (Ghookway) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 07:43 am:

Does this flooded pit mine have any decent fishing? A few of the old gravel pits down here are some of our better fishing holes.

By Joe Dase (Up_miner) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 08:01 am:

The signs have been taken down pointing to the lookout area, but I believe it is still open. I am about 60% sure that was part of the agreement between the private party and CCI.

Gary, no fish that I know of, but its a young pit too (since re-flooding).

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 08:20 am:

The Michigan Business Tax that is effective in 2008 offers a Hematite Mining Credit available for businesses that consume low-grade hematite. My thinking is that perhaps low-grade hematite is a low-pollution ore. Maybe Capt. Paul can add some insight into this as well.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 08:20 am:

Makes you wonder if thats rusty water?

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 09:09 am:

I fish in these type of Ponds here in Monroe county..They are stocked by nature i.e. birds drop them in as the travel by..Here they are mostly old sandstone/rock mines and some were created when the sand was used in building the interstate highway system. The abandond mine of France Stone in Monroe is now built up with some $300,000 homes and the high water levels this year have now required many of the home owners to install pumps to keep their yards dry.(not sumpin I have to worry about). One of the largest problems is who is liable for any accidents that occure at these old pits.

By Matthew (Mjn03) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 11:56 am:

Has anyone done a SCUBA dive here ? I would love to go down and check it out ! Especially if there are fish. Quarries/mines are GREAT SCUBA spots b/c they are typically deep and water has great visibility.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 12:44 pm:

Sorry for the late post; it’s the end of our fiscal year and everyone is scrambling. I luckily got my workplan done for the year, but that’s bad because now everyone is coming to me for help……. HELP!!!!!!

I had not heard that the observation area was bought up now. I hope they continue letting people back to the observation area as this is a place the Dr. and I visit when we are up there. A little about the mine; the area around Republic was tagged as an area of interest in 1846 when government land surveyors noted mineral deposits as they were plotting township lines. The first mining began along the Michigamme River in 1854. Many mines and prospects were opened, but only the Republic survived to become a long term profitable venture.

The first mining company at the Republic site was the Republic Iron Company in 1871 and it started as an underground mine. In 1914, Cleveland Cliffs took over operations and operated until 1928. At the time of closure, the shaft reached a depth of 2,910 feet. In the 1950’s, Cliffs began a major expansion of mining operations in the area as iron ore prices began to rise. It was during this time that Republic transitioned to an open pit mine to produce iron ore pellets. The expansion led to moving some of the town 3 miles south to an area now called South Republic.

As the pit deepened, a primary crusher was placed at the bottom of the pit for increased efficiency. The ore was trucked to a crusher, crushed, then sent along a 2,800 foot conveyor up to the top of the pit (at this time, the depth of the pit was 650 feet) where the processing plant was located. The ore was processed to marble-sized pellets, then transported by the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad (LS&I) to Marquette and Escanaba where waiting ore carriers were loaded. While operational, the annual production was 2.7 million tons of pellets of specular hematite.

The Republic Mine was closed for good in 1981 due to high production costs and expansions at Empire and Tilden Mines nearby. In 1997 Cliffs began removing equipment from the pit and allowed the pit to flood. The tailings basin was remediated and is now designated a wetlands preserve. In fact, you would be hard pressed to ever tell there were mining operations at the tailings pond areas, it’s that well done!

Now to survive the rest of the day………………

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 01:24 pm:

88% pure iron oxide ore meaning 88% hematite (Fe2O3) is what the primary ore recovered from Republic consisted of. Magnetite (Fe3O4) was also found in the pit, but in much smaller quantites (magnetite is the common ore in Empire and Tilden Pits). In the end, it is all classified as Banded Iron Formation or BIF. Silica is common in BIF's as well and makes up most of the impurities in the ore material.

Alex: I could try to explain the tax, but the HLAS In Lansing does a much better job. I provided a link directly to the .pdf file describing the tax credit: Hematite Pellet Credit.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Tuesday, August 26, 2008 - 02:10 pm:

Capt...Thanks for the link.
Even though we don't have any clients that would qualify for this credit, it is nice to have some background. I see now that the credit is to help the existing steel industry in Michigan and not pollution related, which is what I originally thought.

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