Forest County Potawotomi Community of Wisconsin


Tribal Chairman Gus Frank is among those opposing a proposed mine south of Crandon, worried particularly about an estimated seven tons of cyanide which would be trucked to the Nicolet Minerals Co. underground copper and zinc mine at the Forest County site. "That scares us. We all know too well that truck is going off the road." The cyanide would be transported in the form of solid briquettes that dissolve in liquid, officials said. Thus, mining opponents are pushing for a ban on the use of cyanide, betting that a such statute would, in effect, kill the proposal. A representative for Nicolet, a subsidiary of London-based Billiton Plc., said environmentalists are trying to frighten lawmakers into passing a ban that isn't needed to protect the area or keep pollution from the nearby Wolf River. Mines where cyanide spills have occurred used an open-pit mining method where ore is piled into a heap and sprayed with a cyanide solution that separates the metal from rocks. The solution is recovered at the bottom of the heap and piped through a process which separates the metals from cyanide. Open-pit mining was banned in Montana by a 1998 voter referendum.