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Green expo excludes tile firm

Organizers of September’s West Coast Green Conference and Expo in San Francisco say that despite last year’s support for ceramic tiles made from mine waste, Golden Bear Ceramics of Grass Valley is no longer welcome to attend.

Monday, West Coast Green released a written statement saying the business proposal for Golden Bear Ceramics “reopening of a hard rock mine in Grass Valley prompted a review of all factors contributing” to its final product.

West Coast Green was formed to promote residential, environmentally friendly building construction.



A spokesman for West Coast Green declined to detail the group’s reasoning beyond standing by the written statement and saying the group conducted an “exhaustive investigation” into Golden Bear Ceramics.

The Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp., a subsidiary of Canadian company Emgold Mining, plans to reopen a gold-mining operation off of Idaho-Maryland Road with 100 percent of the mine waste to be used for ceramic tile.




The proposed tile plant, which would located on the same site, could potentially produce 1,200 tiles per day.

“We’re disappointed that they don’t want to include us at this time,” said David Watkinson, vice president of operations for Golden Bear Ceramics.

Watkinson said he didn’t think the decision by conference organizers was based on anything that wasn’t already known.

“They certainly like the product and hope it gets advanced,” Watkinson said.

In West Coast Green’s statement, spokesman Ian Bryan said the group was “inspired by the potential” of the ceramics process.

The latest decision had more to do with the group’s philosophy, Watkinson said.

“They don’t want to see any more mining in California,” Watkinson said.

West Coast Green’s conference is scheduled for Sept. 20 to Sept. 22 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

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To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail gregm@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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