Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Energy
Department of Energy
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9/26/22  7:13 pm
Commenter: Amelia Williams

Opposed to gold mining in Virginia

I live in Nelson County where we already have one EPA Superfund site from the era of unregulated mining. I’m working on a documentary project about this time period and know that in Virginia there are abandoned small-scale mines from the early 20th century that have left a legacy of mercury pollution along the Gold-Pyrite Belt.  Virginia’s lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework and insufficient bonding requirements lay a dangerous foundation for an industrial-scale extractive industry to put public health and drinking water at risk. Gold mining companies use cyanide in their processing, leaving local communities vulnerable to potential contamination should anything fail during the mining or storage process. I live on  a property with a water well and these mining operations could result in groundwater withdrawal, which could impact the availability of water for private drinking wells. As with the US Titanium site, with contamination left by American Cyanamid, of chief concern is the potential health and environmental hazards posed by waste material processing and the waste tailing ponds that are susceptible to leaching and spills. Local communities and those downstream could be affected should tailings dams or mining waste depositories fail.

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