GRAYMONT RESPONDS TO DNR CONCERNS WITH U.P. LIMESTONE MINING PROPOSAL; DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS RECOMMEND APPROVAL TO DIRECTOR
DNR Press Release:
Officials with Graymont, Inc. have submitted a revised Land Transaction Application (LTA) to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for a limestone mining operation in northern Mackinac County near the town of Rexton. The March 6 proposal, which amends a January 2015 LTA, is unchanged in the total amount and location of public land under consideration.
Revisions in the March LTA address DNR concerns with the previous proposal. Based on these revisions, department officials have recommended that the March 6 Graymont application be approved by DNR Director Keith Creagh. The LTA will be before Creagh for action at the March 19 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Roscommon. More information about the proposal, including a map of tracts under consideration, can be found at www.michigan.gov/graymontproposal.
Following is a summary of items of significant concern to the department in the company’s previous proposals and how those concerns have been addressed in the most recent application:
- Royalty rate on limestone mined and minimum annual royalty payment: Graymont has increased the proposed royalty rate for limestone from 18.75 cents per ton to 30 cents per ton. The company has proposed a minimum annual royalty to begin in 2020 and has committed to creating a regional economic development fund that will provide $100,000 a year for five years starting in 2015. Department officials find the royalty rate and minimum royalty acceptable.
- Consideration of timber and mineral values: Graymont has now included timber value in the purchase price of Tracts A and E. Lands to be offered in exchange for Tracts B and C will include equal or greater forest values in addition to land value. Non-royalty minerals were valued at $10 an acre. Department officials find the language acceptable.
- Final decision authority on land use and infrastructure such as roads, trails, mining structures, etc. on all parcels: Graymont has addressed this concern by including consultation, mediation and arbitration language to recognize public and DNR input in land use decisions. Department officials find the language acceptable.
- Effects on a neighboring facility: Graymont has included language to address potential impacts to a facility adjacent to Tract C. Department officials find the language acceptable.
- Adequate wetland protection and trail easement assurances in Tract E: Graymont has included language to ensure impacts to wetlands in Tract E are minimized and trail easements for public use are provided. Department officials find the offered wetland concept and trail easements acceptable.
- Process for land exchanges: Graymont has revised the process for land it was offering in exchange for land it seeks to acquire in this proposal. If this LTA is approved, the state will immediately begin to work with the applicant to compete the exchanges. Department officials find the process acceptable.
- The scope and timing of economic benefits to local communities: Graymont is developing a regional economic development fund to provide grants for local units of government, schools and/or small business. Department officials find this approach acceptable and expect further detail on the local economic benefits prior to director decision.
A memo detailing the recommendation from department officials to the director can be found on the DNR website.
There are multiple ways people can provide comments about this proposal. The public will have an opportunity to make comments at the March Natural Resources Commission meeting. The DNR continues to maintain an email address for the public to comment. Interested parties may send comments to DNRGraymontProposalComments@michigan.gov. Mailed comments can be sent to the Roscommon Customer Service Center, ATTN: Kerry Wieber, 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon, MI 48653.
Comments will be accepted until a final decision is made.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go towww.michigan.gov/dnr.
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