William Clark: Rise up and wise up | TheUnion.com

William Clark: Rise up and wise up

Recently I viewed the Rise Gold website to learn about the project to re-open the Idaho-Maryland gold mine. I read a news item dated March 17 which stated, “All technical reports required for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) are now either complete or in final draft. The technical reports conclude that the Idaho-Maryland Project has no significant environmental impacts after mitigation has been incorporated.” Based on the results of the technical studies, the company believes the DEIR will arrive at a similar conclusion with no significant environmental impacts after mitigation is incorporated.

It appears Rise Gold has produced all the information required for the DEIR and has offered mitigations to address the environmental impacts. The company has produced 36 technical reports that treat key environmental issues. So is it a done deal? Well, not so fast.

Since the Rise Gold project has potential for significant environmental issues, Nevada County is preparing the DEIR to address the following issues, including but not limited to: air quality; biological resources; greenhouse gas emissions; cultural resources; geology, soils, and mineral resources; hazards and hazardous materials; hydrology and water quality; noise; traffic and transportation; and wildfire.

Nevada County has contracted with an outside consulting firm to produce the DEIR which will be based on a review of the technical studies submitted by Rise Gold and their subject matter experts. A 45 day comment and review period will follow the completion of the DEIR.

I have several concerns about this project:

Is Rise Gold Corporation fully capitalized? Do they have sufficient funds to take on a project of this magnitude? Will they be operating on a shoestring or are they financially able to proceed?

Rise Gold seeks an 80-year operating permit. This is way beyond my lifespan and beyond that of our children. I would prefer a 10-year period of operation with a complete review and renewal option every 10 years.

Rise Gold must establish a remedial bond prior to any construction or operation. This will protect Nevada County in case Rise Gold pulls up stakes and leaves.

The Rise Gold project is expected to process 1,000 tons of gold-bearing ore per day and with a projected yield of 0.46 ounce per ton. This comes to 460 ounces of gold per day. This amounts to an income of $782,000 per day ($1,700 per ounce). Not one penny goes to Nevada County.

What is Rise Gold’s experience in operating a sub-surface mining and extraction operation within the boundaries of a city such as Grass Valley? To what extent was this activity in harmony with the urban environment?

The Rise Gold operation has potential to impact our air quality due to ground ozone, smoke, dust, exhaust plumes and diesel engine particulates (PM10 and PM2.5). Nevada County has one monitoring station in Grass Valley located at the Litton building. It would be proactive to have an additional monitoring station for ozone and particulates at a location determined by the Northern Sierra Air Quality Monitoring District. The additional monitoring station would be able to measure airborne contaminants from the Rise Gold operation. Rise Gold should be required to fund the installation and operation of the monitoring station before any site construction begins.

Rise Gold plans to dewater the 73 miles of mine tunnels. Proposed mitigation is to supply NID water to residential properties whose wells become unusable. The mitigation should also require Rise Gold to pay the cost of NID supplied water in perpetuity.

Time to wise up. The purpose of an EIR is to examine environmental issues surrounding any project that can potentially damage the surrounding environment. Once environmental issues are identified then mitigation begins which seeks to minimize the damage. This means problems won’t go away and residents must decide to accept the mitigation or not. Residents of Nevada County must be vigilant and take a hard look at proposed mitigations proposed by Rise Gold.

William Clark lives in Grass Valley.

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