MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin regulators have approved a mining company’s new cold-weather plan to extract mineral samples near Mellen. Gogebic Taconite is looking to dig a 4.5-mile-long iron mine in the Penokee Hills. The company has been trying to secure a state permit to remove about 2,400 tons of rock from three sites for sampling. The Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday released a Feb. 4 letter from the company saying it wants to conduct the sampling while access roads are frozen to minimize environmental impact. The DNR gave Gogebic Taconite the go-ahead in a Feb. 7 letter, saying the company doesn’t need any permits if it finishes before the ground thaws. DNR hydrologist Larry Lynch says the company wants to get started this week. A company spokesman didn’t immediately return messages.