The Department of Natural Resources has released the following information:
A land transaction application proposing the exchange of more than 1,700 acres of mineral rights in Chippewa and Mackinac counties has been received by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The proposal, submitted by Graymont, Inc., requests the exchange of Graymont-owned mineral rights near the town of Rexton in northern Mackinac County for state-managed minerals in the Hiawatha National Forest near Trout Lake in Chippewa County.
The proposal would combine state-managed surface ownership and mineral ownership on the acreage in Mackinac County, while Graymont would attain mineral rights on acreage under U.S. Forest Service surface ownership.
Graymont’s mineral exchange application is separate from the company’s previously submitted land transaction proposal to acquire approximately 11,000 acres in the eastern Upper Peninsula, which is currently under review by the DNR. Each individual application will undergo its own separate review by Department staff; the two applications have no bearing on each other.
“In the coming weeks, the DNR will process the application and it will be reviewed following the standard DNR land exchange policy and procedure,” said Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator with the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “The procedure entails the review of the proposal by staff at multiple levels in each of the resource-managing divisions within the DNR, including Forest Resources, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and Recreation. A review of the application will also be conducted by the DNR’s Minerals Management section.
“Feedback from the public is a critical component of the review process and will be taken into consideration before any decisions are made,” Wieber added.
As a result of this review, staff will make a recommendation to DNR Director Keith Creagh, who has the authority to make a final decision on the exchange proposal. Creagh will make his decision at a future Natural Resources Commission meeting once the review process has been completed.
Approval of the exchange would not necessarily mean approval of future mining activity in the national forest. Any mining proposal from Graymont would require involvement from the surface owner, which is the U.S. Forest Service.
The public will have an opportunity to make comments at an upcoming Natural Resources Commission meeting. Additionally, the DNR has established an email address in order to allow ample opportunity for the public to comment. Interested parties may provide comments to DNR-GraymontProposalComments@michigan.gov. Comments will be accepted until a final decision is made.