FELCH - The owner of the old Groveland Mine property in Felch has plans to clean up the area, provide jobs to the community and produce aggregate products at the site.
"The Groveland Mine is rich in all kinds of resources and we're trying to clean it up and develop the property to use those resources and to provide local employment and improve the community," said Rockwood "Rocky" Bullard III, president of Michigan Mining LLC, which has owned the mine property since 2000. Bullard added that cleaning up the 2,200 acres is a lengthy process.
"There are no automatic solutions. It is very expensive to develop aggregate or anything at the Groveland property," he said. "It was an iron mine and it would cost a half a billion dollars to get it going as an iron mine."
When operational, the Groveland Mine produced about 2 million tons of pellets annually and employed roughly 500 people. Operations ceased on Jan. 31, 1981.
Bullard said the mine property has good roads and transportation is primarily by rail.
"The (former) underground mine is relatively isolated. There is rail transportation so the impact on the community will be fairly slight," Bullard said. The mine started as an underground mine in the 1800s and was converted to an open pit mine in the 1940s or 1950s.
Joe Harteau, subcontractor for Michigan Mining LLC, said north of the Groveland Mine Road, which is unmarked and a gravel road, is private property.South of the Groveland Mine Road is public.
The Hanna Mining Company donated the 5,637 acres to the state in 1988 and the Groveland Recreation Area was created.
This land is part of the Copper County State Forest and is open to the public for fishing, hunting and other recreational activities