Gold mining is very harmful to the surroundings--depletion and then poisoning of water supply, not only near the mine, but way downstream as well. Nearby air is polluted as well. The enormous amount of tailings becomes a permanent hazard. Dams may fail. We just noted the anniversary of Hurricane Agnes, which caused heavy flooding all over the state. A tailing dam has to hold forever, which is unlikely, given the way hurricanes pass over Virginia.
It is not right for a company to come in, take its profit, and leave a poisonous mess for the rest of us!