Shirley Benedick: Not buying that mine poll |

Shirley Benedick: Not buying that mine poll

According to Rise Gold, the public is “overwhelmingly in favor of the mining project proposed for Grass Valley,” citing a recent poll of 500 Nevada County residents. As a retiree and 35-year resident living near downtown Grass Valley, I have serious concerns about both the survey and the reopening of the mine.

The telephone poll (paid for by the mine owners) of 500 Nevada County residents selected from voter lists, 100 from each of Nevada County’s five districts, is irrelevant and misleading.

Five-hundred people (out of a Nevada County population of 99,755 in 2019) were polled, but only 100 from Grass Valley, which is the region most heavily impacted by reopening the mine and probably has the largest population density.

Why, for example, should the quality of life of Grass Valley residents be determined by the nostalgic feelings of those living in Truckee? Would they be OK with dozens of loud, large, heavy diesel mine trucks running night and day seven days a week near their downtown, clogging streets, wearing out road surfaces, decreasing air quality, and discouraging tourism?

In addition, the mine will put a strain on our power grid, operating 24 hours a day, pumping out water. We have had prior examples of what can happen. North San Juan lost their water when their local gold mining operation dewatered several homes and a school.

Current owners of Rise Gold address potential water problems by saying they will pay for new water hook-ups (and the water bills) if local wells are affected.

When the representative for the previous mine owners (Emgold) was asked where the flooded mine’s water came from, the answer was that there were some questions about water intrusion via uncertain geology around the Wolf Creek area. So, is dewatering/pollution of Wolf Creek a probability?

And what about those jobs that will be created? When Emgold owned the mine, their Canadian penny stock speculators stated that most of the mine jobs would be filled by skilled miners from out of the area. Is this still the case?

And what about our air quality, already bad, and global warming carbon loading combined with less rainfall? Yes, it is bad now, but it would get worse.

We who live here would pay a high price, yet the mine speculators don’t even have to make a profit. Approval would likely guarantee their penny stocks would skyrocket in value, thereby rewarding early investors.

Their contract guarantees them 80 years, but even if the mine eventually fails, they will have made their money. We will live with the damages.

Mining is an interesting part of our history, but this is our town, our quality of life now, and our children’s future. These concerns need to be addressed before our community allows this questionable project.

Shirley Benedick

Grass Valley

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