We are concerned that an international prospecting company has proposed bringing large-scale industrial gold mining to the Virginia commonwealth, but there is not a sufficient regulatory framework or guarantees for safe cleanup. This would leave our communities and water resources vulnerable to pollution.
Virginia has hundreds of abandoned small-scale mines from the early 20th century that have left a legacy of mercury pollution along the Gold-Pyrite Belt, which stretches from Northern Virginia to the North Carolina border. The regulations for cleaning up the waste and damage from these mines have not been updated since the early 1900s, even though the mining process today occurs on a much larger scale which means there is a dangerous foundation for an industrial-scale extractive industry to put public health and drinking water at risk.
Likely sites for new large-scale gold mines would be in close proximity to the James River and its watershed, which provides drinking water for 2.7 million people, brings millions of dollars into Virginia’s economy from commercial fishing, and attracts over 6 million visitors annually. Operations could result in groundwater withdrawal, which could impact the availability of water for private drinking wells. Access to clean drinking water sources is a chief concern for many Virginia communities and existing strains for communities would be exacerbated by a new, harmful industry.
They have a bad record of environmental responsibility. The Canadian metal mining prospecting company pulled water in Buckingham from Sycamore Creek, a tributary to the James River, without any county oversight. Local residents are deeply opposed to a potential large-scale mine and the impacts it can have on their groundwater supply, environment, and health.
Industrial metals mining, including gold mining, is notorious for polluting water resources.
Virginia’s communities and water resources should not face a threat from cyanide(an important chemical in gold mining). The risks are too high — and our water is too precious.
PLEASE! NO LARGE SCALE GOLD MINING IN THE JAMES RIVER WATERSHED,IN VIRGINIA!!