A former iron mine that has been inactive for more than 40 years could reopen as a cobalt mine in Frederiktown, MO.
Missouri Mining Inc. announced plans to reopen the Madison Mine that it purchased in 2018. The mine has been part of a Superfund site since the 1960s.
St. Louis Public Radio reported that Environmental Operations, a Missouri Mining subsidiary, plans to begin cleaning up the site this winter. Missouri Cobalt, another Missouri Mining subsidiary, could hire as many as 400 temporary workers and 250 permanent workers to rebuild and operate the mine.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects the cleanup to be completed in March 2022. Because of the cleanup efforts, less than 2 percent of children in the area have elevated lead levels in their blood, down from 27 percent in 1996, EPA officials said.
The site was a part of the EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, a program that aims to reuse Superfund sites.
“Over the past 20 years, the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative has proven that incorporating reuse early in the process removes barriers to redevelopment and ensures that cleanup plans promote future economic and recreational activities,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release.