WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Armed guards pulled at proposed mining site

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

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 (AP) -- A mining company says it has temporarily withdrawn its armed guards from an exploratory drilling site in northwestern Wisconsin.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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ASHLAND, Wis. (AP) -- A mining company says it has no intention of pulling its armed guards from an exploratory drilling site in northwestern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite is standing by its decision to hire Bulletproof Securities to patrol a proposed mining site in Ashland and Iron counties. Gogebic hired the guards after a mining protest last month led to criminal charges against a demonstrator from Stevens Point. Mining equipment was damaged and a cellphone and camera were taken.

Gogebic spokesman Bob Seitz tells the Journal Sentinel that the remoteness of the mine site lengthens the time sheriff's deputies would take to respond to an incident. Seitz says the hired guards, armed with assault rifles and dressed in camouflage, would use force only if Gogebic employees are attacked and not to protect property.


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