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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook 1990
Year 1990, Volume 2 (1990)

West, Wanda J.; Gere, Milton A., Jr.
Michigan,   pp. [254]-269 PDF (2.4 MB)


Page 256

 Amendments to the Federal Clean Air Act, enacted on November 15, 1990, as
256  MICHIGAN—1990in 1990 (to $606 million)3 and was the main factor
in sustained or increased production of cement and aggregate materials. The
increased demand offset declines that existed most of the year in the comm~rcia1
construction and homebuilding markets. According to the U.S. Department of
Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 38,871 private and public residential units
were authorized in 1990, 6,816 fewer than in 1989; value of nonresidential
construction totaled $2.3 billion, about 8 % less than in the previous year.
EMPLOYMENT 
 The Michigan Employment Security Commission, Bureau of Research &
Statistics,
reported that Michigan's labor force totaled 4.58 million, basically unchanged
from that of 1989. The State's unemployment rate rose from 7. 1 % to 7.5
% . A rate of 8.9 % , compared with 
8.2% in 1989, was posted in the Upper ~ Peninsula where completion of major
~ construction projects and the 4-month mine workers' strike contributed
to the 
~ accelerated rate. 
~ Statewide, 9,000persons were engaged 
~ in mining, 10 % fewer than those in 1989. 
~ Mining employment in the Upper 
~ Peninsula totaled 2,900 persons, 24% 
~ fewer than the 3,800 employed in 1989. 
~ Iron mining activities were brought to a 
~ standstill on August 1 when 1,800 
~ members of the United Steel Workers 
~ Union went on strike with the expiration 
~ of their contract. By the time a December 
~ 1 settlement was reached, the shutdown 
~ had resulted in temporary layoffs of several hundred employees at companies
~ serving the iron ore industry, such as power companies, railroads, and
Great 
~ Lakes ore carriers. 
~ Average annual pay for Michigan 
~ miners, including all sectors of the 
~ industry, was $3 1 ,029 compared with an 
~ annual wage of $25,376 for all industries in the State.4 
REGULATORY ISSUES 
Public Law 101-549, imposed stricter environmental control standards, including
tougher regulations on toxic emissions from coke ovens. Steel companies operating
integrated mills expected to make large expenditures to comply with the law's
curb on toxic air pollutants. Late in the year, National Steel Corp. announced
plans to build a $300 million coke battery and byproducts plant at its Great
Lakes Division at Ecorse, which was expected to meet or exceed all of the
new requirements. 
In August, the T~J.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) released preliminary fmdings of studies done at the
Torch Lake Superfund site on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Houghton County. The
report indicated there was no ground water contamination in private wells
around the town of Lake Linden. In addition to testing well water, the EPA,
with assistance from the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and
the U.S. Bureau of Mines, had collected and examined air and soil samples
from various locations in the area. It also studied shore tailings for the
possibility of metals being released into the environment and the contents
of drums found in the tailings disposal area. Analysis of the tailings, soil,
and air samples suggested the presence of metals such as arsenic, chromium,
copper, and lead and organic compounds.5 A remedial investigation report
with EPA's final conclusions was expected to be released within a few months.
Torch Lake was added to the Superfund list in 1986 after unusually large
numbers of fish from the lake reportedly had abnormal tumorous growths. Researchers
had not agreed on whether elevated levels of arsenic, chromium, copper, lead,
nickel, and zinc were caused by the copper industry or if they were naturally
occurring. Studies failed to prove conclusively any link between the fish
abnormalities and the copper mining wastes, which for years had been dumped
into the Lake and the Keweenaw Waterway. 
EXPLORATION ACTWITLES 
In May, the DNR, through its Real 
Estate Division, conducted a metallic minerals lease sale, offering 14,229
acres of State-owned land in five counties. The three successful bidders
were Callahan Mining Corp. (3,478 acres), Crystal Exploration Inc. (640 acres),
and Alex Fagotti of Crystal Falls (720 acres). Bonus bids totaled $9,063.58.
The highest bid per acre was $5.27 and the lowest was $1 .01 , with an average
bid of $1. 87 per acre. Combination of the bonuses bid and the first year
rental payments ($3 per acre) were expected to produce $23,577.58 in revenue
for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Most of the 4,838 acres covered
by the bids were in Marquette County (2,518 acres); other counties involved
were Dickinson (840 acres), Gogebic (120 acres), and Iron (1 ,360 acres).
None of the Menominee County acreage offered in the sale was leased. Statewide,
lease sale results were down considerably from those of 1989, when there
were 8 successful bidders, 7,643 acres leased, bonuses of $29,599, and first
year revenues of $52,528.38. As of fiscal year 1989-90, Michigan had 16,277
acres of State-owned land under lease for metallic ~ minerals. 
 Exploration activity in the Upper Peninsula focused mainly on base and precious
metals and diamonds. The DNR reported that 9 companies performed exploratory
drilling of 92 holes on State and private mineral leases in the Upper Peninsula,
totaling approximately 18,400 feet. Also, four exploration drill holes for
limestone-dolomite were drilled in the Lower Peninsula. 
 Although Callahan Mining Corp.'s Ropes gold mine in Marquette County remained
closed throughout the year, the company continued to pursue an exploration
program for gold and other minerals in the Upper Peninsula through two joint
ventures funded by Western Mining Corp. (U.S.A.). Western, a subsidiary of
Western Mining Corporation Holdings Ltd. of Australia, can earn up to 50
% of Callahan's interest 


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