MADISON, Wis. -

Gov. Scott Walker announced Friday he plans to sign the Republican-backed mining bill on Monday.

The governor plans to officially sign the bill at Oldenburg Group Inc., a mining equipment manufacturer in Rhinelander, early in the afternoon. He also plans a ceremonial signing at P&H Mining Equipment in Milwaukee later in the day.

The bill makes sweeping changes to the state's mining regulations in hopes of jump-starting Gogebic Taconite's plans for a huge iron mine just south of Lake Superior. The company had refused to move forward until lawmakers eased their regulatory path.

The GOP maintains the mine would create thousands of jobs. Conservationists contend the bill loosens the state's environmental standards and will allow devastating pollution.