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Ray Bryars: Keep the mine out of the community

The last few Nevada County supervisors meetings have seen an outpouring of concern about the possibility of Ben Mossman, CEO of Rise Gold, re-opening the Idaho Maryland Mine. It is apparent that Nevada County has moved a long way since the last ounce of gold was removed from local mines. The community no longer wants to be impacted by risky mining projects that have a history of leaving behind toxic legacies.

Those who personally attended, called in or emailed comments, spoke about their concerns with noise, dewatering wells, traffic, air quality impacts due to toxic asbestos dust and the abysmal environmental track record of Ben Mossman ,CEO of Rise Gold. There was noticeable emotion in the voices of several callers who lived close to the proposed mine. The possibility of living next to an operating mine or of having to sell their home, which would mean potentially losing significant equity in a home that they’d chosen as a safe place to enjoy their retirement years, was not something they had envisioned when they moved here.

One caller who was in tears said that a mine would ruin her quality of life and felt that it was a travesty that a penny mining stock company could have got to this point. There was strong concern about exposure to asbestos dust and the possibility of ammonium nitrate being stored under her house. She voiced the concern that Ben Mossman’s company had run amok in Canada and that a mine should not be approved in an area that was zoned as light industrial.

A resident who lives close to the proposed mine implored the supervisors to consider that Ben Mossman’s history. He felt that the mine was too important an issue with too many negative side effects. He also pointed out that CEO Ben Mossman had a new trial set for 2021 in Canada, where he had left behind environmental cleanup estimated to cost $1.6 million.

One caller who lived on East Bennet Street noted that they can already hear Waste Management trucks from inside their house. He was extremely concerned about the 100 trips per day that opening the mine would generate.

Another resident on East Bennet Street noted that during the previous 24/7 exploratory drilling, she couldn’t hear the birds in the area around her house and that a mine would ruin everything.

It is clear that there is strong community resistance to any kind of mining so close to a residential area, senior centers, the hospital and downtown Grass Valley. Other comments expressed the desire to keep any mine out of the community.

It is clear that residents do not want to go through this stress every few years. They want our elected officials to protect the citizens by putting a stop to any chance of ever opening a mine so close to Grass Valley.

We need to explore what could be done to protect our community from continuously having to play whack a mole with a never-ending stream of penny stock mining companies. We should be able to develop this area so that it is an economic benefit to the community.

For the benefit of the residents of Grass Valley, I respectfully request that our supervisors put in place a team of community leaders who would be tasked with investigating opportunities to clean up the toxic legacy, identify options for low impact economic development, while ensuring that we will never have to live in fear of another penny stock mining company disrupting the lives of so many Grass Valley residents.

Ray Bryars lives in Nevada City

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