Mining and beneficiation of metals was an early driver in the economic development of the Great Lakes region. The mining of both iron and other minerals came to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the early 1840s, spurred by Douglass Houghton’s publication of a report on the famed native copper deposits of the Keweenaw in 1841, followed closely by the discovery of iron ore deposits in Marquette County in 1844. The state mascot of Wisconsin—the badger—is a reference to the hillside dwellings of lead miners who worked in the southwestern portion of the state in the early 1800s, well before iron mining began in the Wisconsin portion of the Penokee/Gogebic Iron Range in 1885. Iron mining in Minnesota began in 1884, with development of the Vermilion Range. Iron mining continues in Michigan and Minnesota to this day. Recently, the mining of nickel, copper, and other noniron metallic minerals is undergoing a resurgence in the region. There are several new projects currently in development, and one in production.
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