Nearly 145 acres of land once associated with the historic Idaho-Maryland Mine, which Emgold Mining Corp. had attempted to reopen in recent years, is now on the market.
Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty has the $2,750,000 land listing of 18 separate assessor’s parcels, which includes 2,750 acres of mineral rights and a collection of core samples. But although the land’s owners are sitting on a former gold mine, they’re not selling the property as one.
“We’re not selling a mine,” said Charlie Brock, broker associate with Coldwell Banker, and the listing agent. “The property is not permitted as a mine. It’s zoned M1, or light industrial.”
Emgold had been trying to revive the mine east of Grass Valley for more than seven years to take advantage of an estimated 472,000 ounces of gold. Emgold’s Grass Valley-based President David Watkinson had estimated that reopening the mine would generate about 600 jobs, half of which he said would be filled by residents.
But in January, Emgold announced it no longer would list the Idaho-Maryland Mine as a current project for its investors. The project’s website has been removed, and the company does not have the requisite rights to pursue the project.
The project was first sent to the city of Grass Valley in 2005. In 2009, a draft environmental report drew criticism; the report was declared insufficient and Emgold was to revise its project. That now-scrapped report estimated the net revenue to the city’s general fund created by the mine would be about $750,000 per year, once it reached full production.
Opposition to the mine reopening included the formation of CLAIM-GV (Citizens Looking at Impacts of Mining-GV).
In April 2010, Watkinson updated the project plan, substantially changing projections for traffic patterns, air quality, mine water, impact on nearby wells, the crushing of waste rock and noise. Grass Valley’s city council gave Emgold a deadline of Sept. 13, 2012, to come up with funds to restart the environmental review, or the application would be deemed withdrawn. In February 2013, another deadline passed for Emgold to renegotiate the lease and option to purchase approximately 2,750 acres of mineral rights and 91 acres of surface rights associated with the project. In September 2013, Emgold sold off 18 acres of the prospective mine site to raise capital.
Considering contaminated mine tailings are part of the property, which the listing notes, Brock said it will likely be a challenge to sell.
“We’re very much aware of the sort of political history with Emgold having attempted to permit the operation of the mine and failed,” Brock said. “There are substantial environmental issues with the property itself. There are a number of environmental concerns that we anticipate the market will need answers to.”
The total 145 acres includes 109 acres of 16 assessor’s parcels that are contiguous to the City of Grass Valley’s city limits, Brock said, with two more parcels totaling 39 acres on the former New Brunswick Mine site, near where a silo is still visible off East Bennett Road.
In addition to environmental concerns, Brock noted issues with homeless camps on the property that need to be resolved.
“It’s also a site, unfortunately, that is proving to be a homeless encampment site,” Brock said. “There are issues with availability and accessibility — and our clients are not insensitive that, but trespassing is trespassing and there’s been desecration of the land and also fire hazards.
“Coupled with the environmental concerns, it’s a very challenging property to be selling.”
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