Gogebic Taconite suspends the use of some armed guards at mine - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gogebic Taconite suspends the use of some armed guards at mine site

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Photo courtesy: Rob Ganson Photo courtesy: Rob Ganson
Photo courtesy: Rob Ganson Photo courtesy: Rob Ganson
Eau Claire (WQOW) - Armed guards outside a proposed mining site are now off the job.

Gogebic Taconite (G-TAC) hired an Arizona security company to protect the proposed mining site along the Iron-Ashland county line.

G-TAC has been concerned about violent protesters after a recent incident. One protester faces criminal charges.  

On Wednesday WQOW News 18 learned the Arizona company, Bulletproof Securities, has been operating without a Wisconsin license.    

The state says the company has now applied and it typically takes two to three days to process a license for a security guard agency.

G-TAC says it won't use the guards again until all of the necessary approvals have been granted. The company says it has other options and will rely on those for the time being.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A mining company says it has temporarily withdrawn its armed guards from an exploratory drilling site in northwestern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz tells the Wisconsin State Journal the guards from Bulletproof Securities were pulled out Wednesday because the contractor failed to obtain proper licensing from the state. He says the company has two or three other options and will rely on them until proper state approval is received.

Gogebic hired Bulletproof Securities after a protest last month led to criminal charges against a demonstrator. Mining equipment was damaged and a cellphone and camera were taken.

Two state legislators earlier this week asked the company to remove the guards, who were armed with assault rifles and dressed in camouflage, saying they were there to intimidate mine opponents.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) says Bulletproof Securities, one of the private companies providing security at Gogebic Taconite's mining site in northern Wisconsin, has been practicing without the required Wisconsin license.

Gogebic Taconite says the company will remove the armed guards from Bulletproof Securities until they obtain the proper license from Wisconsin DSPS.

DSPS says Bulletproof has contacted the department about its intention to submit a license application.

Once the application is submitted to DSPS, approval should take 2-3 days. Gogebic says once the application is approved, Bulletproof Securities guards will be back to work at the site.

Under Wisconsin law, any company convicted of providing private security without a license shall be ineligible for a license for one year. The Wisconsin Department of Justice has been asked if it will investigate.

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