WAUSAU (WAOW) - Controversy over potential gold and copper mining in Marathon County continues.
Canadian mining company GreenLight Metals presented their plans to the county board in a meeting that lasted over two hours.
"We're looking for what they refer to today is that social license to operate, which is garnering the trust, the confidence and even the support of the community," GreenLight President and CEO, Dan Colton, said.
They're hoping to mine for reef and bend deposits in Taylor and Marathon counties that may contain four-million tons of copper and gold. One of their goals is to help secure the U.S. supply chain.
The meeting allowed for board members to ask questions, and for residents to express their opinions.
"You can't unring the bell," James Botsford, a Wausau resident, said. "This is the moment in time to not turn a blind eye to common sense and the legacy of our lovely area."
Most concerns came from the environmental impact the drilling could have.
"These chemicals will mitigate into the environment and end up in people's drinking water wells," Ron James, an Evergreen resident and materials engineer, said. "They will be ingesting higher levels of PFAs because of this project."
GreenLight, however, says they're taking proper steps to ensure this won't happen, and that the process is similar to installing a drinking well.
"I've never seen an exploration program cause contamination of any of your ground water systems, or cause releases to the surface of a nature that creates surface water runoff contamination into a stream," Colton said.
If the permit is approved, they will begin a 12-week exploratory drilling in the winter to see if the project is worth the effort.
The next committee meeting takes place on August 30 at 3 p.m., where conversation surrounding the project is expected to continue.