MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Department of Natural Resources has approved an exploratory drilling permit for a company looking to open a giant iron mine in northwestern Wisconsin.
Gogebic Taconite wants to dig a four-mile long open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills. Republicans earlier this year passed a contentious bill relaxing the state's mining regulations to clear the way for the company.
Gogebic Taconite officials filed an application with the DNR earlier this month to drill 13 exploratory holes but later scaled back the project to eight holes. DNR officials say the company made the move after agency staff asked for more information about potential wetland impacts from possible improvements on roads leading to five sites. Company President Bill Williams didn't immediately return a message.
The DNR approved the application Thursday.