During the May 23, 2023, Washington County public hearing of the Washington County Planning Advisory Commission, two years of a five (5) year Holcim Company mining application in Grey Cloud Island Township was approved. The limited permit stipulates a detailed mining reclamation plan, as well as trespass and danger signage from Holcim at the next renewal application. The commissioners also recommended annual visits by staff to monitor the site and assess whether fencing is needed.
The meeting was to address a five-year conditional-use permit requested by Holcim, which is nearing the end of a 100-year lease on approximately 600 acres, of which about 180 acres has been mined. Holcim testified that they are meeting all state, county and city requirements and that the mining property is adequately secured by berms with trees. In addition, they have submitted a reclamation plan, which includes a park, to Grey Cloud Island Township board. Reclamation is the process by which abandoned mines are rehabilitated to become useful land again.
Grey Cloud Island Council Member Dick Polta testified that the reclamation plan lacks specifics, such as who would own the proposed park and who would be responsible to maintain it. He recommended that the county visit the site due to resident complaints related to the mine, including rock blasting, and supported an end to the Holcim mining application in 2025. A resident testified that the mining area near his house is not secure and is dangerous, residents walk their dogs and hold picnics there, and the area needs fencing. The Washington County Planning Advisory Commission unanimously approved the two-year plan with stipulations.
The meeting notes and the Holcim application is here.