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Environmentalists, officials concerned about U.P. drilling plans

The prospect of an Upper Peninsula mine generating dangerous acids has state regulators and activists hustling to learn about a mining method rare in Michigan.

The process -- called sulfide mining -- could be proposed in 2004 by a mining company that is looking for copper and nickel in a rock formation. The mining could produce dangerous acid and heavy metals as a by-product.


Deep shaft mining has some risks involved
Rock moved to surface can leak contaminants and hurt environment

Deep shaft mining in sulfide rock formations -- one of the options under consideration by Kennecott Exploration -- is tricky business.

The company and state regulators say sulfide mining can and has been done safely. But they admit it is inherently riskier than many other types of mining, including the shallower, open-pit mines typically found in the Upper Peninsula.

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