Mine safety remains an important issue

To the Journal editor:

Reading Saturday’s (March 13) edition of The Mining Journal, it was discouraging to learn of another tragedy with a loss of life involving a local abandoned mine pit.

The area was fenced, although in disrepair, and that alone indicated a hazard that should have received regular attention and inspections over the years.

This problem is not something new and has festered for too many years. Marquette County Board Chairman Gerry Corkin is quoted in the news story, “Over the last fifty years, there have been a number of youngsters that have died around the county in some of these pits.”

Since this issue has long been recognized, why has it taken so long to address? It should not take a tragedy to bring issues like this to the forefront and grab the attention of our elected leaders and the public. It is time to take ownership and get this resolved once and for all.

There is an accountability issue with this abandoned mine pit not appearing on any Marquette County mine inspection reports from 2009 to 2019, according to the article.

I have reviewed those same reports, and this is not the only example of a visibly abandoned iron mine not appearing on the reports. The current mine inspector who has only been on the job for a few months is not at fault. This is a failure of leadership that precedes the current mine inspector, who is trying to do his best in a difficult situation.

We can be thankful that Representative Sara Cambensy and Senator Ed McBroom have taken a leadership role and are working together at the state level to resolve this problem, even though it was not of their making. They took the initiative well over a year ago to begin formulating solutions, long before this tragedy occurred. All our local leaders need to step up and work with Representative Cambensy and Senator McBroom to support their efforts and develop solutions as quickly as possible. This is about saving lives.




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