COUNTY BOARD CRITICAL OF CITIES FOR LACK OF ACTION ON DANGEROUS ABANDONED MINES

(Iron Mountain - January 09, 2018) - The Dickinson County Board of Commissioners on Monday evening expressed concern and criticism, after reviewing the latest report submitted by County Mine Inspector Steven Smith. (R)

Smith's lengthy and detailed report outlines problems with mines throughout the County, but expresses particular concerns with two properties, the former Pewabic Mine in Iron Mountain and the Devil's Icebox, located in Quinnesec. The latter had been a popular tourist attraction, until it was determined to be too dangerous for visits or tours. The Pewabic Mine has long been completely off limits due to extreme dangers. Two individuals have died in recent years while visiting the property.

The Pewabic Mine has been a highly dangerous site with a number of deaths, dating back to 1895 when nine miners were crushed to death in an explosion and cave in.

Commissioner Ann Martin praised the Mine Inspector for the work he has been doing, saying that he "takes his responsibilities very seriously."

Most of the problems deal with failing or damaged fencing, leaving some very dangerous sites accessible to tourist and curiosity seekers.

The Inspector was particularly critical of the cities of Iron Mountain and Norway, saying that it's up to the City of Iron Mountain to compel compliance at the Pewabic Mine, which he said needs a chain link fence with barbed wire to bar entry to the property. Smith said the City of Norway has been uncooperative in dealing with problems there.

Ironically, while the Mine Inspector is charged with inspecting the MINES, the office has virtually no enforcement powers.

The County will look into the possibility of adopting policies which will give the Mine Inspector more enforcement powers, while also appealing to Senator Tom Casperson, seeking enforcement assistance at the State level.

There are at least 150 known mining properties in the County, dating back to the late 1800's, and likely many which have not been registered or yet discovered.

 

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