Other Voices: Reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine just the facts
Mr. Watkinson (the COO of Emgold) stated in his rebuttal to the previous “Letter to the editor” that perhaps the writer hadn’t checked all his facts. I began to wonder, “What are the facts?” Here’s what I think they are in regards to Emgold’s desire to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine:
• Emgold is a public company, albeit one that sells for about 15 cents per share.
• Public companies care about only one thing: profits. The community and the environment are secondary nuisances.
• The site is contaminated with arsenic, cyanide, mercury, etc.
• To attain those desired profits, if necessary, corners could be cut when it comes to regulations, safety, pollution control, etc.
• Emgold will be hauling tankers of toxic waste to and from their site. It’s not unlikely an accident could occur and 40,000 gallons of sodium cyanide or other chemicals could be spilled, flooding neighborhoods, roads, storm drains and rivers.
• Emgold wants to pump half a billion gallons of water out of the mines and store it in settling ponds. It’s quite possible an accidental release of that water could occur, sending it into our rivers.
• At the rate Emgold will be processing that water; it will take a good part of a year, working 24 hours a day; that’s a lot of opportunity for accidents.
• Emgold will be under pressure to meet its extraction goals at all costs.
• If the price of gold drops, the mining operation would no longer be viable. It’s possible they would walk away from their mess and leave it for us to clean up.
• If Emgold discovers there is no gold to be gotten, it’s possible they would walk away from their mess and leave it for us to clean up.
• The head of the Grass Valley Planning Commission is an Emgold employee.
• High explosives will be used and stored on the site.
• The “Ceramext” tile-making process may exhaust pollutants into our air.
• The “Ceramext” tile- making process will use large amounts of fossil fuels and probably expel carbon dioxide into the air.
• Discharging 500,000,000 gallons of treated water into Wolf Creek has to have some adverse affects.
• Gold miners are usually not environmentalists.
Those are some of the facts as I see it. It’s pretty clear to me it’s not worth the risk to our quality of life and the environment to let Emgold proceed.
John Palmer lives in Nevada City.
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