Armed guards to stay at proposed mining site

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.