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      Limestone producer looks build massive underground mine in the U.P.

      O ne of the largest limestone producers in North America wants to start mining in the Michigan's upper peninsula.

      T he Canadian company Graymont Inc., is looking to buy 10,000 acres of Mackinac County land that belongs to the Department of Natural Resources.

      Graymont and the DNR held a public forum Tuesday night to lay out their plan for county residents and the reactions were mixed.

      S ome believe a mining operation is just what the local economy needs.

      " Our youth will stay here if the re are job s," Al Garavaglia, Hudson Township Supervisor said.

      O thers around the area are worried about the environment.

      " It's going to really mess up a lot of the prop erties," Art Mills, Hudson Township resident said.

      Graymont's plan calls for the use of nearly 8 ,000 acres for an underground limestone mine. T he re mainder of the land will be used for surface mining and a processing plant.

      The Canadian company anticipates that it will take between 50 and 100 years to mine the land.

      A s part of the deal , G raymont would pay the DNR a royalty fee on each ton of limestone that is removed from the land over a 100 year span.

      T hey will also have to pay thousands of dollars annually in property taxes that will be funneled into the county and township governments. B ut before anything moves forward , the DNR must approve the project.

      "T his is the public 's land and we manage the plan for the public ," Kerry Wieber, DNR Forest Land Administrator said. "S o we need to hear from the public about what they want to have happen here and that's a critical part of this ."

      A s the project develops , G raymont may create more than 40 jobs for local workers.

      T he DNR will spend the next six weeks reviewing Graymont's proposal and will be accepting public feedback during that time to include in their report.