Bill aims to change mining regulations for small operations

LANSING — Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) is working on a bill that would make it easier for small native copper mines to be regulated.

Senate Bill 591 was introduced last week. Casperson discussed the bill with the Natural Resources Committee Wednesday afternoon.

The republican senator says this bill would help smaller mining operations lessen the amount of hoops that they have to jump through to mine for copper, when compared to the larger mining operations and the way they’re regulated.

“We’re not trying to dummy things down to make people just go do whatever they want,” said Casperson. “Mainly where I think we’re going to see a lot of this is on the west end towards the Ontonagon, White Pine area in those regions. There’s a lot of native copper there.”

“There’s been a lot of mining there in the past, but clearly we haven’t gotten even close to getting to all of the copper,” he added. “With the higher demand for copper that we see in the world, why not be a leader in it where we come from.”

Casperson added that this legislation could add five to ten jobs per mining operation that the U.P. currently does not have.