LETTER — Commentary on gold mining in Virginia

Published 12:01 pm Saturday, June 4, 2022

To the Editor:

Studies have been under way to determine if large-scale gold mining should be allowed in Virginia. Hobby mines and one small operating mine already exist but bear no resemblance to modern, lower-grade gold mining using cyanide and other toxic chemicals to extract the gold from the ore.

As a retired mining engineer I urge all people to voice their opposition to allowing large-scale gold mining, or any mining that would threaten our environment. Existing Virginia mineral mining regulations are unable to protect our environment. Even if expressly modified to address large-scale gold mining the regulations would still be inadequate.

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The presence of a modern gold mine in Buckingham or elsewhere in Virginia would:

  Sacrifice sustainable resources so an unnecessary depletable resource can be mined.

• Cause increased wear and tear of roadways.

• Not benefit local residents by providing high paying jobs.

• Pollute our land, air and water with dust and toxic chemicals.

• Prioritize corporate profits while shifting environmental and health costs to the public.

• Leave a large, permanent, pile of mine waste that would eventually fail.

• Not provide a strategic metal needed by our country.

• Leave an undetermined area of land for the mine and waste dump that would forever be uninhabitable.

To voice your opposition to gold mining, please contact Buckingham County Administrator Karl Carter, at 434-969-4242.

George Neall

Retired Mining Engineer (B.S.;M.S.;P.E.)