MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ A mining company says it has temporarily withdrawn its armed guards from an exploratory drilling site in northwestern Wisconsin.

Gogebic Taconite spokesman Bob Seitz says the guards from Bulletproof Securities were pulled out Wednesday because the contractor failed to obtain proper licensing from the state. He says the company has two or three other options and will rely on them until proper state approval is received.

Gogebic hired Bulletproof Securities after a protest last month led to criminal charges against a demonstrator. Mining equipment was damaged and a cellphone and camera were taken.

Two state legislators earlier this week asked the company to remove the guards, who were armed with assault rifles and dressed in camouflage, saying they were there to intimidate mine opponents.