Letter to the Editor — Speak up and say no to new gold mining in Virginia

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

To the Editor:

There are more than 70 abandoned metallic mines in Buckingham alone, all loaded with mercury, as they were used to process gold in the 1800s. Why would we let new metallic mining in if we can’t clean up the existing toxic mess?

There are at least 10 major concerns about new industrial gold mining coming to Buckingham, or statewide:

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1. Dewatering of mines – drawing down from the water table for miles around

2. Leaching of toxins (naturally occurring heavy metals, radioactive materials) into groundwater

3. Airborne toxins impacting the local area

4. Acid mine drainage

5. Catastrophic mine waste (tailings) dam failures impacting millions downstream

6. Virginia has no regulations on the use of cyanide (used to separate gold from ore)

7. Forever toxic sites, leaving the forever burden to the taxpayers

8. Virginia’s rainfall is a huge problem – let alone the climate crisis with increasingly devastating storms

9. Local governments are enticed by tax revenue that will never cover the true costs

10. Negligible number of local jobs – most are specialized, imported from elsewhere

The state hired the National Academies of Sciences to study the impacts of gold mining to Virginia. The public comment period is now. Please also send comments to the State Agencies Town Hall. Go to Friends of Buckingham website for more information and how to take action: https://www. friendsofbuckinghamva.org/friends/ ban-gold-mining/

Live in Buckingham? Have you signed the local petition that supports an ordinance that would protect us from the toxic trespass of metallic mining? Sign on here: bit.ly/bhamord

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud