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
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
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
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.