The Back Forty Project is a newly discovered polymetallic zinc-gold-copper-silver deposit located in Menominee County, Michigan, developed by a joint venture between HudBay Minerals Inc. and Aquila Resources Inc.  Developing and permitting the Back Forty Project poses significant technical and regulatory challenges. Major environmental concerns included:

  • Long-term care of a lined and capped tailings management area
  • Fugitive emissions from open pit mine and tailings facility
  • Mine inflow and drawdown impacts on water resources
  • Detailed bedrock hydrogeologic studies
  • Reclamation of an open pit mine
  • Acid rock drainage impacts
  • Water treatment and discharge
  • Native American archaeological sites
  • Cross border issues with Wisconsin
  • Open pit stability along banks of the Menominee River


As the project’s prime consultant, Foth is tasked to thoroughly address these technical issues and develop a strategy for obtaining all state and federal permits.


Foth continues to manage every aspect of this project, addressing all environmental concerns to ensure issuance of permits within a schedule that meets the project needs and allows development of the resource without delay. We have conducted a series of technical studies for the project, including geochemistry of waste rock and tailings, bedrock hydrogeology, water treatment, groundwater modeling, air quality and deposition modeling, reclamation planning, and tailings and waste rock storage facility design.

In addition, Foth has managed a consulting team that includes other firms conducting baseline environmental studies. We are synthesizing the study results into a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment, a mine permit application and environmental permit applications for air quality, water quality and wetlands disturbance.


Our bottom-up approach has helped the Back Forty Project build relationships with local and state units of government. We have integrated their technical, legal and public relations teams, and provided robust site characterization and engineering. Our proactive approach to the regulatory process and the integration of permitting and regulatory strategy has helped ensure the timely issuance of permits, and should provide a technically sound basis for successful resolution of any litigation after the permits are issued.