Dec 28-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: December: Dec 28-03
Ropes Gold mine collapse    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by William Brumm

Toivo from Toivola on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 06:48 am:

The Pasty Guest Gallery has become a treasure chest of photos, both new and old. William Brumm has an interesting group of shots from the collapse of the Ropes Gold mine in Ishpeming, back in 1987 on New Year's Eve. He also has a good narative with each picture, to give you a better idea of what you're looking at. Seems he was a bulldozer operator, while the road was being constructed. Here's what William has to say about the above photo:

"This is a view looking down on a tool trailer from the service road to the head frame. The steam in the photo is moist air rising through cracks in fractured rock from the bottom of the stope about 900' feet below."

In Bill's album he says the miners all made it out safely, but I wonder about that unfortunate van driver?

By Mary Lou on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 07:00 am:

Do they still mine for gold in the area? How about "panning" like they do out west.......I guess I never knew about gold in "them thar hills" in the UP!!....very interesting...glad to learn everyone got out okay.

By Uncle Bud/old Mohawkguy on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 08:00 am:

Like the editor of the Shinbone Star said,
"when the legend becomes fact, print the legend".
The Cliffs in Keweenaw are full. We use to get our pin $$$ there.

By Jim Grill on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 09:53 am:

Not shown in the pictures was an ARATEX route truck which was swallowed right up. The driver was entering the property to make a uniform delivery when the earth begin to give way, clouds of dust appeared before him, and the next thing he knew was the truck was turning and rolling into a gaint pit, the windshields broke out, the driver stepped out into the dusty earth and rock hole, half dazed, he begin to try and climb upward. He later stated, where it came from he will never know, but there was a very long ladder laying in with the other material and he climbed out to safety. Jim Grill, Calumet, MI

By Lee, Mi. on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 10:02 am:

I had family living by Deer Lake which was polluted by the Ropes Gold Mine.
Here is a good link to information on it.

By UP_gal on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 10:46 am:

42° in my part of Houghton County this morning. Just like a warm spring day? so much so that I searched the wonderful pasty archives for beautiful wallpapers of spring flowers. As the song says " Deep in December, it's nice to remember" Thanks for keeping up the archives ...I think I enjoy them as much as the daily features.

By Dave of Mohawk on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 10:56 am:

41 degrees and sunshine this morning in Mohawk, MI. The weather is beautiful for this time of year but it sure destroyed our snowmobile trails.Then there's the old copper country saying; "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes".

By Rose - Illinois on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 11:44 am:

Great photos and info in your album, Bill. It was very interesting!

By Missin the UP from NJ on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 01:12 pm:

Hey that's scary!
I remember a story in Iron River back in the mid to late 60's of a mine collapse outside someone's home. Imagine waking up one morning to open your drapes and seeing a hole like that where your front yard used to be?!! Sure impressed me, 40 years later and I've never forgotten!
Wouldn't it be interesting to see a cut-away of the UP and all the mining tunnels and shafts exposed! On second thought, maybe not!
I wish a safe and happy and healthy and LUCKY New Year to all!

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Student on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 07:47 pm:

It should be noted that the pollution to Deer Lake was a result of the original operations at the Ropes Gold mine, and that there are many other gold mines in the area that would have contributed mercury. Mercury was a common element in gold stamp mills because it agglomerated gold quite nicely. All of the sources of Mercury contamination would have been gone before the 1930's. No pollution would have been from the Callahan Operation shown in the picture.
Another interesting fact is that Ropes has one of the largest (if not the largest) unsupported Stopes in Michigan, the stope that collapsed in the picture is much smaller than the one still open.
Mary Lou- It is possible to pan and get gold out of areas in Marquette County, I know of people who have done quite well panning for gold along the dead river. Rumor has it that someone has a placer operation around Dead River somewhere. There are several gold ranges in Michigan though, Dan Fountain has a good one title Michigan Gold, it covers allot of the small gold operations. There is also silver in the hills, as a matter of fact one of the little known facts about the Champion Iron mine is that you could find Native gold, Silver, and Copper in it as well as many other compounds of them, sometimes in significant quantities.

By Ric, WI on Sunday, December 28, 2003 - 10:40 pm:

It is indeed telling that one photo could invite such an assumption about the Ropes Gold Mine. Pollution comes from MANY sources, and taking yet ANOTHER cheap shot at mining is despicable. Like it or not mining and logging were the mainstays of the UP up until recent history. Now the UP is becoming the "pristine" Door County-like entity that many environmentalists hope for. Congratulations folks in keeping those pesky jobs out!

By Paul in Illinois on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:50 am:

We have discussed the mining issues before. We learn as we go. I can remember handling mercury in school labs. I can also remember when we all thought asbestos was great thing to have around and it was everywhere. We know now that it wasn't such a good idea to do those things. In our current "it can't be my fault" legal environment we seem to immediately leap to the conclusion that the some dastardly person deliberately polluted a river. Back in the thirties, there were some clues that it might be dangerous but all in all, 99.5% of the world just didn't know.
Just this week it was announced that the soot from diesel exhaust is likely to be responsible for 1/3 of the global warming. It absorbs rather than reflects the sun's energy. Let's sue the decendants of Rudolfe Diesel - he should have known this and never invented his engine back in the 19th century. What a rotten guy he was!
OK Ropes caved in and there is mercury left from earlier operations. Do you have any gold in your home? Most likely you do - it isn't used just for jewelry. Do you drive a steel, petro fueled, pollution machine? Do you use electricity? Does your house contain wood and copper? Are you willing to quit your job and return to subsistance organic farming? Are you a NIMBY willing to let some poor b----d's in a 3rd world country do the dirty work for you? Or are you willing to do the best possible job here and mine in the safest and most environmentally sound manner presently known? In the long run, isn't that the best alternative for the world as a whole?

By Catherine--Holland MI on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 01:55 am:

Hear hear, Paul!

By Uncle Bud/old Mohawk guy on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 07:18 am:

Your right on the mark Paul.
Ric, I think we will find that these Door Co style folks have never held a real job, and in the near future these groups will have gobbled up the majority of the Keweenaw land (and using tax payer $$$) and will have complete control of who can use it.

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Student on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 07:48 am:

Amen Paul, if I were in industry I would offer you a PR job in a heartbeat! By the Way I got your Christmas card today, thanks! I don’t check my e-mail often. Its sad to see the UP becoming more and more populated with moronic do-gooders who take the environmental cause to the extreme. In my book there are environmentalists, who are usually level headed, then there are the Environmental Nazi's. The Environmental Nazi's are worried about the environment however they are more worried about getting members in their so-called environmental groups and they will do this through any means necessary including propaganda/rhetoric bordering on slander. These environmental nazis are more detrimental to the environment than they realize, Mining companies for example have been working with national environmental groups for years to develop a set policy of sustainable development, then these groups of do-gooders step in and destroy everything that the national groups worked so hard to achieve. The thing that gets me is that they make some of the most outlandish claims possible and people believe them! The sad part is these people are so loud that the people who would benefit from developments the Environmental Nazi try to stop are never heard because you have people like Joe-Bob from downstate and Jo-Bill (Fake Names) a reported engineer from Wisconsin screaming about how bad these developments are when in reality a ten year old child has as much knowledge about the project as they do.

By R Somero CA on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:32 pm:

If you want to see environmental crazieness to the max-just drop by my adopted state for a visit. We all need to learn how to balance man's needs with what's good for the environment. Py- da-vay, I seem to remember the city of Ishpeming and the surrounding area using Deer Lake as a sewage pond. Does anyone remember this?

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 12:52 pm:

Actually it was 41 degrees in Ventura, CA yesterday morning too!

By RGG - Cedar Rapids on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 05:08 pm:

"these groups of do-gooders step in and destroy everything that the national groups worked so hard to achieve. The thing that gets me is that they make some of the most outlandish claims possible and people believe them!"

Joe, Can you provide specific examples of this?

I bet for every example you come up with, I can site a company that knowingly polluted the environment and was legitamately prosecuted and fined by the EPA or another "do-gooder" government environmental agency.

By Former Uper from Wi. on Monday, December 29, 2003 - 06:18 pm:

Gee Joe: So do you consider the Sierra Club to be one of these do gooder groups? I'm sure it is the largest environment protector in the country and they most cetainly do not cozy up the the mining companies or any other polluter for that matter. You must be thinking of the Bush Administration.

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Student on Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - 09:14 am:

RGG- who said anything about the EPA being a do-gooder group??? The EPA does their job when they prosecute companies for that reason as does the DEQ they are regulatory agencies NO ONE can say what they do is wrong. Although I don’t agree with everything the Sierra Club, for example, does they for the most part do have the environment in mind. By do-gooders I am referring to the small spin off groups, an excellent example of this is the group in Marquette County. If you want examples of people believing their outlandish claims read some of the articles about them in the Mining Journal and look at their website. An example of there claims: "Kennecott’s now closed Wisconsin mine, the Flambeau Mine, is leaching acids into the Flambeau River – 70 to 100 times more than Kennecott had predicted." yet we find that Flambeau is not releasing much if any acids (and I stress any). Yet the Wisconsin DNR states: "the monitoring results are consistent with the characteristics predicted during permitting and are not at levels that pose a threat to water quality in the Flambeau River."

Former Uper from Wi- I apologize for saying national groups, I meant international, the International Institute for Environment and Development is over sees the GMI, which is the Global Mining Initiative. This meeting set the industry wide standard for defining Sustainable Development. NON GOVERNMENT environmental groups as well as governmental regulatory agencies from several different countries were invited to participate and have participated. I hope the Sierra Club does not share the same narrow minded opinion as your self, “cozy up the the mining companies or any other polluter for that matter.” I will tell you what will happen if they don’t. The industry is making an honest attempt to clear its good name; they realize that if they don’t change they will suffer. If environmental groups have an opinion such as yours what will happen is lawsuits and more mud flinging. The mining company will retort by fight tooth and nails spending lots of money as well. Both sides have a ridiculous amount of money to throw at each other and can keep both sides tied up in court. Now imagine this, cooperation from the start. If those two sides spent the money that that would have spent bettering the community or creating a park, etc, how much better off would the world be? This first grade mind set of throwing everyone into court and refusing to negotiate at all with these companies is ridiculous, on both sides it impedes development, change for the better, and protection of the environment. Also it is offensive to call mining companies polluters, most mining operations EXCEED EPA, DEQ, and other regulatory agencies standards. Today if you want to permit a mine it has to basically be a zero discharge operation or it isn’t going to fly, and by zero discharge I mean zero metals pollutants ect. You may as what is the moral of this rant? The mining industry is changing for the better, they are committing to the environment from day one, they must or the company will die. If groups continue the mind set quoted above nothing will change it will be a never ending cycle of lawsuits and both sides will suffer from it, and lets face it the raw materials have to come from somewhere, you have to grow it or mine it. So unless every one plans to start living off of primitive farming some sort of an understanding must be reached. Change is coming get on board or get run over.

By Grew up near Deer Lake on Thursday, January 1, 2004 - 07:37 am:

Note rest of EPA article, CCI iron mines also had a hand in the mix:
"The first occurred in the 1880's from the processing of gold ore in this area (Ropes Gold Mine). Mercury was the primary processing reagent for gold prior to 1897. The second occurred from the assaying test that was conducted on ore samples from a Laboratory of Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company (CCIC). The wastewater from the CCI lab went into the municipal sewage of Ishpeming which flowed into Carp Creek and then into Deer Lake."

By Yellow Dog River, UP, MI on Saturday, February 7, 2004 - 09:08 pm:

To bad you all missed the fact that the proposed mine will be a sulfide mine. And by the way...mining in the back to hauling wood.

By sammy lefrak on Sunday, March 7, 2004 - 05:46 am:

Former Uper from Wi.,
Idemnifying oil companies and government from liability for oxygenates gave us MTBE in groundwater and the Sierra Club supported it for years after the danger was understood.

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