Panel to give insight on gold drilling

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 13, 2020

The Buckingham County Board of Supervisors has agreed to attend the Nov. 16 Buckingham Planning Commission work session to hear from a panel of experts regarding the subject of core sampling and gold mining as it pertains to the county.

At the Oct. 26 Planning Commission meeting, commission members agreed to seek guidance from the Board of Supervisors as to how the county should proceed regarding whether to continue to prohibit or permit core sampling/gold drilling by Canadian company Aston Bay Holdings.

Aston Bay was told to cease its exploratory gold drilling operations in Buckingham after citizens and officials learned the core sampling had been occurring in the county for multiple years despite not being permitted in an A-1 Zoning District.

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County Planning and Zoning Administrator Nicci Edmondston told the board at its Tuesday night, Nov. 10, monthly meeting that at least five experts had been confirmed for the panel, and the county was awaiting response from three other offices.

Approximately two dozen members of the public addressed the board during the public comments period of Tuesday night’s meeting, either in person or via email or voice message, with the majority of citizens expressing concern over the possible continuity of core sampling and its potential to lead to open-pit gold mining.

Some speakers expressed concern Tuesday night that Aston Bay’s exploratory drilling had already possibly caused issues with the land’s hydrology after various wells began running dry near the company’s operations.

Other community members were worried a potential mine in Buckingham County could threaten the health and safety of residents and negatively impact those who have lived in the county for generations and enjoyed its rural nature.

The work session is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m.