In January, 2019, the Board of the Town of Farmington approved a conditional use permit for the new owners of the Rybak Mine. The mine is in Farmington but is surrounded on 3 sides by the Village of Osceola. The mine owners have plans to expand to an additional 200 acres.
Allowing expansion of this mine has allowed an increased depth of the mine to 80 feet below the surface and an increased frequency of the blasts, now monthly, with no limitations on the frequency. One of the blasts this year shook the surrounding area so forcefully that several residents reported thinking it must have been an earthquake. It has increased truck traffic with about 80 trucks leaving the mine daily. The expansion allows frac sand mining. The mine is located less than a half mile from the St. Croix River raising concern about the affect of the mine on local water quality and water quality downstream.
The decision by the Town of Farmington Board to allow this expansion at the northern most part of Farmington affects the Village of Osceola as well as Farmington.
The expansion of the mine does not take into consideration the community which surrounds it. The mine is close to the Osceola Medical Center, the Christian Community Home, the new memory care center, homes along Ridge Road, downtown Osceola, and the St. Croix River.
Expansion of the mine should not be made purely as a business decision. Decisions about any further expansion should be made taking into consideration the whole community, not just one business’ needs and wants.