Using Trees to Remediate and Stabilize Mining Waste

Oct 19, 2023

For decades, the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P. was home to more than 100 copper mines.

One of the byproducts of that is stamp sands, the practice of crushing rock and extracting heavy metals.

Remnants of it are still found throughout the peninsula.

Sitting at his desk at the U.S Forest Service’s Northern Research Station in Rhinelander, Ron Zalesny points to a satellite map of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

He’s focused in on Sand Point, an area of land along Lake Superior on the peninsula’s southeastern edge.

“This is where that Mass Mill was located and where they dumped everything. Then over time, it has gone into the lake and currents have pushed it here. This is Sand Point this point right here,” said Zalesny.

On the map, you can see a brownish-gray area along the shoreline indicating where the stamp sands have accumulated.

It’s a stark contrast to the blue Lake Superior and green foliage slightly inland.

“This is what’s called the coastal wetland, this is just like a wetland. There’s that healthy population of trees here. The problem is that that stamp sands is kind of encroaching on that coastal wetland,” he said.

Continue reading at wxpr