I am deeply concerned about the prospect of gold mining operations being renewed in Virginia. Large-scale gold mining would put communities within the Gold-Pyrite belt subject to negative impacts, including from groundwater depletion and water pollution from cyanide used in the metals processing itself.
Virginia does not have an updated regulatory framework for gold mining: the state's current regulations pertain to small-scale gold mining, are severely outdated and do not account for changes to the industry, including the scale at which operations are conducted. Additionally, Virginia has insufficient bonding requirements that leave communities vulnerable to inadequate clean-up and decommissioning by any mineral company doing business here. Virginia has long been subject to use and abuse by mining operations managed by out-of-state companies, and the prospect of gold mining here raises huge red flags. The risks posed to people, waterways and natural areas are far too high. Please do not allow the gold industry to jeopardize them!