Our View: Don’t dig yourself into a hole on Idaho Maryland Mine
It’ll be a long haul to bring mining back to Nevada County.
That’s what Rise Gold Corporation likely would attempt if it determines there’s enough gold in the ground to make the venture profitable.
Exploratory drilling has been ongoing off East Bennett Road, not too far from its intersection with Brunswick Road, for several months. Gold is there, thousands of feet below the surface.
However, the mere presence of gold isn’t enough to pursue reopening the Idaho Maryland Mine, a facility that’s been closed since the 1950s. There must be enough gold to pay the costs of removing it from the earth.
And, of course, there must be community buy-in, which is in no way guaranteed. This is, after all, Nevada County.
Officials have received noise complaints about the exploratory mining from at least one neighbor. Imagine what push back will emerge if Rise Gold tries to reopen the mine.
A proposal to bring three Dollar General stores to the county drew fierce opposition. The process took years, and resulted in the approval of two stores. The ongoing effort to create grow rules for cannabis cultivators remains ongoing after almost three years.
An attempt to bring mining to this area will make Dollar General seem like penny ante stuff.
Down beneath the noise complaints, buried under the possibility of a new business in our county is the wrath of NIMBYism. Try to build it and they will oppose. Look to Dollar General, Dorsey Marketplace and Higgins Marketplace if you need examples.
Despite these concerns, we enjoy significant protections in this state. Rise Gold would need a permit to reopen the mine (none is currently needed for the exploratory drilling). Additionally, the California Environmental Quality Act would kick in. That act brings with it months of study followed by a report detailing what mitigation Rise Gold would need to continue with its project.
Hiding under all this rubble is perhaps the motherlode: basic property rights. You get to use your property how you want. So do we. Zoning plays a role in those uses, as does any infringement of neighbor’s rights, but folks pretty much enjoy the freedom to use property as they see fit.
The Idaho Maryland Mine is no secret. The simplest searches reveal its existence. You’ll likely find mining in a document when signing numerous papers during a home purchase.
It’s here, much like the danger of wildfire. It’s on you to realize its possible impact when buying property.
Of course, you should fight against changes in your community you view as inappropriate. That’s your right.
And it’s everyone’s individual responsibility to get involved on the side they support. Positives exist to bringing mining back to this community, jobs not least among them. But the lure of good paying jobs can’t be enough to forego a probing look into the negatives mining could bring.
Education is key, and no one has all the information yet because Rise Gold hasn’t determined whether it’ll attempt to reopen the mine. There’s time to dig into the history of the mine and study what our community could gain from its reopening, as well as what problems — noise among them — would arise.
The alternative is to retreat into our respective camps and brood on supposition while ignoring any facts except those that support your view.
That’s digging a hole none of us will escape.
Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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