The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the US has received formal notification from the Gogebic Taconite that it is withdrawing from its controversial $1.5bn ferrous mining project in northern Wisconsin.
Gogebic dug monitoring wells, built roads and removed small deposits of iron ore for testing as part of the work, and has since said it is withdrawing from the project's pre-application phase.
The site of the proposed open pit iron mine is said to be in portions of Ashland and Iron counties, between Mellen and Hurley.
Gogebic's latest announcement follows fears that the US Environmental Protection Agency would try to block the project's construction.
According to the DNR, the property would be re-opened to the public under the state managed forest law, with public access properties receiving substantial tax benefits.
The company's letter follows the February closing of its office in Hurley.
DNR will continue to work with Gogebic to complete necessary site work to ensure it is well-maintained and is also environmentally stable.
In 2013, Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that banned public access to 600ft restricted zones around mining equipment and roads around the mining site.
The 80-mile belt of Precambrian bedrock in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Gogebic Iron Range stretches east to west, roughly from Lake Gogebic in Michigan to Lake Namekagon in Wisconsin.