Crow Wing Power is currently conducting groundwater pumping tests in Emily as part of its long-range plan to extract manganese in Emily.
Char Kinzer, public relations manager for Crow Wing Power, said the testing is being done to see how the extraction might affect private water wells. If all goes well, she said, a demonstration extraction project will be conducted next spring.
The company established a Environmental Responsibility Committee that includes representatives from the city, lake associations, homeowners, the DNR and other groups. The purpose of the panel is to help Crow Wing Power hear of any concern early on in the process.
The next step is to finalize its environmental assessment worksheet and gain approval from a variety of state agencies including the DNR, the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The testing is all in preparation for a request Crow Wing Power plans to make asking the Emily City Council to lift its mining ban. Cooperative officials said if manganese is extracted in the city it would be a boon to area taxpayers and hopefully provide revenues for the utility that would help it keep its costs down for members. Kinzer spoke to the council earlier this year and explained that the mining would be done without open pits or chemicals but through a hole boring process using water. She said at that meeting the manganese could be sold for steel or used in coal-burning power plants to reduce emissions. At that meeting Kinzer estimated the project could generate $20 million to $25 million in tax revenue to the local economy.
MIKE O'ROURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5860.
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