Mining Your Business: Around Lake Superior

Not commonly known is that mining around Lake Superior began in the early 1700’s when French missionaries learned about the native copper. The British weren’t far behind in 1765 when Alexander Henry established a mine to extract silver found in copper ore on the shores of the Lake. During the mid- 1800’s there was a swell of mining for copper, iron booms in the 1800’s and in the early 1900’s the gold rush in Northern Ontario- and all around Lake Superior. Over those years tons of tailings by the hundreds of millions were dumped into Lake Superior. Things weren’t better by the late 1970’s when the Reserve Mining Company dropped asbestos-like discharges of waste into the Lake affecting drinking water in many cities. Tests from Duluth Minnesota’s water supply showed 100 billion fibers per litre of water.
Mike Ripley is a geologist who has spent the past twenty years of his career with the Inter-Tribal Fisheries and Assessment Program in Sault Michigan. The biological program is managed by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and serves the needs of four additional tribes falling within the 1836 Treaty of Washington.