Copper drilling in Porcupine Mountains

ONTONAGON (AP) — The state says exploratory drilling for possible copper deposits is taking place at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it’s issued a permit to Highland Copper subsidiary Orvana Resources to conduct exploratory drilling on a 1-mile-square piece of property along the park’s westernmost edge. The DNR says drilling started Sunday and will continue into March.

The DNR says most of the park, including the Presque Isle River, will be unaffected by the work.

If the exploration results indicate the potential for enough copper, Highland Copper would conduct a feasibility study. The DNR says that would be designed to mine a deposit by underground methods, allowing access from land the company owns outside the park.

Any mining would require regulatory approvals.