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Adapted from MinewatchNC Announcement:

Are you concerned about the impact of the mine on PUBLIC HEALTH?

Join us for a virtual community meeting this Thursday at 6:00 pm

Our special guest speaker is Dr. Christine Newsom. Dr. Newsom is a retired internist, long-time volunteer, and active community member of Nevada City and Grass Valley. She will help us understand the potential public health impacts of the re-opening of the Mine.

Thursday, May 27th at 6:00 pm

In this session, you will learn:

–An update on the timeline of the public process, including when the Draft Environmental Impact Report might be released.

–Talking points on the potential public health impacts of mine re-opening, including air quality, water, noise, and societal effects.

— How you can get involved to Stop the Mine!

Hope to see you at this special virtual community meeting!
We’ll have experts online to answer your question throughout.

Register in advance for this webinar:
https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i8jRlv_ARX2Dk_b6KcMtmg

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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Follow Minewatchnc Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/MineWatchNC

Six years ago, residents of San Juan Ridge organized to stop the re-opening of the Siskon Mine. This was the second time many of them had fought this battle. The lessons learned from that experience are still relevant today for anyone considering Rise Gold Corporation’s application to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine in the heart of Grass Valley. Here’s the original introduction to the video from Vimeo:

“In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada lies the San Juan Ridge. On the Ridge, tucked away amongst towering pines, flanked by two forks of the Yuba River, is a thriving, independent community. There is also a huge gold mine – a vestige of California’s mining era. A mine that, in the 1990’s, caused water to pour out of the aquifer scouring creeks and dewatering wells; a mine that wreaked havoc on the community; a mine that is proposed to reopen. This is the story of what a community can do when they decide that enough is enough, and that they will not trade water for gold.”

OTHER RESOURCES REGARDING THE OPENING OF THE IDAHO-MARYLAND MINE

Minewatch website

Community Environmental Advocates Foundation
(Idaho-Maryland webpage)

“This year, SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival featured a film about the proposed re-opening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine, a relic gold mine in Nevada County, CA. The community faces a foreign corporation that would take the gold from under their property and leave a toxic legacy. Rise Beyond Gold raises bigger questions for the world at large. Why do we desire gold; and ultimately, is it worth it?” (from Minewatchnc: https://www.minewatchnc.org/post/rise-beyond-gold-film)



By Community Environmental Advocates Foundation (CEA)
Grass Valley, CA 02/24/21.

Nevada County has not commissioned an economic impact study on the proposed reopening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine, but they should.

Rise Gold promises they’ll bring 312 jobs to the County, but a prior economic study suggests about half of those would come from out of area, less than 2% of those employees would buy homes, and simply allowing the property to develop according to the County’s existing general plan would actually bring more jobs.

The application documents submitted by Rise Gold show anticipated jobs that will be created once the mine is fully operational.[1] However, questions remain about the quantities and phasing of these jobs, and whether they will be filled from the local workforce or by people with specific technical skills from out of the area. It is also important to know what would be the net gain or loss of jobs in the area as a result of the mine, as well as the impacts on housing that may be caused by an influx of workers.

While it is true that we can expect some evaluation of housing impacts in the Draft Environmental Impact Report when it is eventually published, a more useful and comprehensive economic study regarding jobs, fiscal effects, and economic growth is not being done.

There was an economic study done as part of the analysis for the previous attempt to open the mine by Emgold Mining Corporation, 2008.[2] It must be noted that the proposed project by Emgold was different in several ways. It included a tile factory as a means of disposing the mine tailings by fusing them into tiles. And the main processing facilities were to be on the 56 acre site on Idaho-Maryland Road, not at the Brunswick site. But otherwise, the proposals are similar in that they include dewatering, establishment of a mineral processing facility, and the same basic activities of reopening and operating the mine.

There are a number of things that we can learn from that economic study. For example, because the Emgold project would have included a tile factory, the number of jobs when fully operational was predicted to be more, anticipating full operations to include 400 employees [3] (versus 312 employees in the current Rise Gold proposal [1]). Noteworthy, according to this study, 52% of the jobs would be filled by people who relocated to the Grass Valley area. [4]

Also, a critical piece in assessing the true economic impact of a project is to compare it with the alternative of “no project”. In this case, a comparison was made in 2008 between allowing the property to be developed according to the Grass Valley General Plan versus permitting the mine as per the Emgold proposal.

The findings of this comparison were rather surprising:

“Under the General Plan Land Use Alternative, the land designated for Business Park use (the 56- acre northern portion of the Idaho-Maryland site) would accommodate about 800 jobs at buildout (see Table 9). The proposed Idaho-Maryland project would not generate as many total jobs in the City of Grass Valley. Up to 660 people would be working at the project area when construction and early operations phases overlapped. Over the 14 years of stabilized operations the proposed project would employ about 400 people (see Table 3).” [5]

The “no project” alternative would provide twice as many jobs!

What about impacts to housing in this comparison? The study looked at the number of people who would come from out of the area for the ongoing operations once the construction phase was done. A large portion of them would take up residence as renters. There were also a number of people who would be commuting weekly from out of the area and just renting a room. Only 6 of the 400 would be home buyers. In total, of the 400 employees for operations, it was estimated that about 208 would be from out of the area, and 161 would constitute new renters in the area. [6]

What conclusions can we draw from this study? Granted, it was done 13 years ago, and for a different project. But the fundamentals of the workforce, the local economy, and the housing have not changed much, except that housing is in a shorter supply. In conclusion, it seems reasonable that if the economic study were done again it would have the same basic results: that following the General Plan will produce more jobs, that about half of the workers would come from out of the area, and that most of them would stay in rentals.


[1] Idaho-Maryland Mine Project Description, November 2019, pg17.

[2] Hausrath Economics Group, Economic And Fiscal Analysis of the Proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine Project in Grass Valley, California , July 30, 2008.

[3] Ibid., pg 4.

[4] Ibid., pg 6.

[5] Ibid., pg 19.

[6] Ibid., pg 6, 13.


CEA (Community Environmental Advocates Foundation) advocates for responsible land use and environmental protection policies and actions in Nevada County. Our goal for Nevada County’s future is a thriving community, a strong economy, and a healthy environment. CEA’s parent groups, the Rural Quality Coalition and CLAIM have been working for Nevada County since as far back as 1999.

MineWatchers:

Join us for a virtual community meeting to learn about the potential impacts of the Idaho-Maryland Mine.

Our special guest speakers for this session are Sol Henson from San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association and Gary Pierazzi, East Bennett Road Resident. They will be doing a special presentation on the impacts to neighborhood wells and mitigations.

In this session, you’ll learn more about:
• The potential impact and risk to neighborhood wells from the Idaho-Maryland Mine
• Siskon Gold Corporation’s mine on the San Juan Ridge that was forced to shut down in the 1990s and lessons that can be applied today
• Recommended talking points
• A new Campaign website and outreach tools

Join CEAF and our coalition partners on
Thursday, December 17, 2020, at 6:00 pm

REGISTER HERE

We’ll also have our coalition experts online to answer your questions throughout the webinar.

Want to see November’s teach-in about air quality impacts?

CLICK HERE

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We need your support!

 DONATE 

Thank you.

Press Release

Grass Valley, CA  8/6/2020  – Community Environmental Advocates (CEA) has joined with Protect Grass Valley to challenge the legal adequacy of Grass Valley’s EIR and approval of the Dorsey Marketplace project.  The suit was filed on August 3.

Dorsey Marketplace is a proposed 104,000 square foot shopping center with 172 residential apartment units located at Dorsey Drive/Highway 49.  It required a general plan amendment and a zone change for approval. It was approved by the Grass Valley City Council on April 28. On May 26, the City Council removed the only minor condition of approval which would have achieved a partial reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) and save energy costs for tenants. The requirement was to use electric space and water heating, which could be powered by the rooftop solar.

Flawed Project

         Provides no affordable housing. 

Dorsey Marketplace as approved will include 172 residential apartments, none specified for moderate, low, or very low income housing.  It marks the third major project approved by the City within the last year which includes no affordable housing. And there were no phasing requirements to assure that they would be built anytime soon.

         Will negatively impact the economy of our downtowns and existing businesses.

The shopping center is a large drive-to project which will impact the success of our downtowns in an era when on-line shopping is taking a big share of the retail market.  CEA recommended reducing the scale of the commercial businesses and providing restrictions on the mix of allowable businesses so that it does not compete with the successful entertainment/dining/specialty store focus of our downtowns. We do not need a third downtown.

         Does not address climate change.  Creates significant traffic impacts.

During the hearings, CEA asked that the project address the climate change crisis by including a project-based solar system with electric space and water heating to reduce GHG emissions. We also asked that the developers reduce the overall size of the commercial portion of the development and eliminate the 3 drive-up windows to reduce excessive traffic, a major source of GHG emissions.

         Will recast our image as a charming mountain community

Aesthetically, the project would eliminate a forested ridgeline, cutting off 20’ and the existing woodlands, and replace it with massive built up pads (45-60 feet of fill) and vertical structures 20-30 feet tall, plainly visible throughout the valley.

         The EIR and the City of Grass Valley, in its approval of the project, did not adequately address these concerns.


CEA advocates for responsible land use and environmental protection policies and actions in Nevada County. Our goal for Nevada County’s future is a thriving community, a strong economy, and a healthy environment. CEA’s parent groups, the Rural Quality Coalition and CLAIM have been working for Nevada County since as far back as 1999.

By Jonathan Keehn
President, Wolf Creek Community Alliance (WCCA)

A Canadian mining company has submitted an application to begin industrial mining operations in Grass Valley. The 119 acre surface mine site located at Brunswick and East Bennett Rds is surrounded by homes, schools, and businesses. Rock conveyors, ore crushers/grinders, paste backfill plant, truck loading area, water treatment plant, and 122,000 sq ft of industrial buildings will all be located at this site. The underground mineral boundary covers almost 2600 acres. See map below.

Here is an FAQ about this massive mining project https://www.cea-nc.org/idaho-maryland-mine-faq/  and a link to a brief overview slide show: https://spark.adobe.com/page/VdKvKTZtK3GRh/

Nevada County has published a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to identify what issues should be addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) to assess the impacts associated with re-opening the old Idaho Maryland Mine, and to decide whether to approve the mine application (or not).

Now is the time to make sure the County is asking the right questions! Although our community has very little time to provide input, make sure your voice is heard.

Letters must be received by the County Planning department no later than next Monday, August 17, 2020 at 5 PM. All submissions should be sent to Matt Kelley, the Senior Planner of Nevada County. His email is matt.kelley@co.nevada.ca.us.

Here are just some of our concerns:

Water
The first six months of mining operations would include dewatering over 70 miles of abandoned mine tunnels by pumping out 3.6 million gallons of water daily into South Fork Wolf Creek. Thereafter, 1.2 million gallons per day will be continually pumped from the underground workings. The effect that dewatering will have on wells, Wolf Creek, riparian zones, subterranean groundwater, as well as surface soils and vegetation, is unpredictable.

Air
An estimated 1500 tons of rock will be removed every day, 24/7, with up to 100 truck round- trips carrying waste rock to 3 locations, including the Centennial site along the edge of Wolf Creek. In addition to diesel exhaust, there will be dust from bulldozers, graders, and compactors on waste rock which will likely contain naturally occurring arsenic and asbestos.

Safety
Explosives, diesel fuel, chemicals for processing the gold, and various other chemicals will be regularly transported to the site, and stored on site. Explosives will include ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil), and Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion.

Greenhouse gases
Full operations of the mine, including fuel for equipment, electricity, exhaust from the daily use of diesel trucks, bulldozers, graders, and compactors, cement paste backfill plant, and other operations are estimated to produce around 9,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.

There’s more! You can view the application documents here: https://www.mynevadacounty.com/2882/Application-Documents—Rise-Grass-Valle

Wolf Creek Community Alliance has been working closely with Community Environmental Advocates Foundation (CEA) to get the word out. CEA is a local non-profit organization that works to promote public policy and actions resulting in responsible land use and environmental protection in Nevada County.

CEA has created a guide to help residents participate during this phase of the process
https://www.cea-nc.org/mining/now-is-the-time-make-sure-the-county-is-asking-the-right-questions-about-idaho-maryland-mine/

Please take immediate action to make your voice heard, and share this information with people in your neighborhood/organization to let them know about this key step in the mine application process.

 

MINERAL RIGHTS AND SURFACE PROPERTIES (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
MAP Rise IMM Mineral boundaries 2020 2

If you have a keen interest in the progress of Rise Gold Corporation and its application to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley and were therefore watching the mynevadacounty.com website closely,  you might have noticed the posting of the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report and Public Scoping Meeting for the Idaho-Maryland Mine Project appearing there on July 17th, exactly 30 days before the deadline for public comments on the scope of the project.

If, however, you first learned of the comment period from the following video posted by the County to its Youtube channel on July 27th, you would have discovered that 10 days of that 30-day period had already elapsed before you knew anything about it.

This is just one of several good reasons why the comment period should be extended, at east to September 17th.

By Jonathan Keehn, President Wolf Creek Community Alliance Once again, a junior mining company from Canada has arrived in town with an eye to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine. So far, RISE Gold Corp. has not made a good impression.

If you’re new to the area, or your memory fades on the subject, here’s a quick refresher:

Every 5 or 10 years, gold mine investors get excited about the idea of re-opening an abandoned mine. These investment companies are often from out of state. In particular, “junior” mining companies from Canada operate in California because they enjoy funding loopholes that encourage speculation. The last such company, Emgold, threw in the towel after it was unable to complete the permitting process in 2012.

RISE is the latest case, and has been behaving as these companies often do. So far, RISE has not complied with some of the most basic Nevada County land use regulations.

In 2017, at their site off East Bennett Road, they began by removing a healthy stand of trees without a Timber Harvest Plan. CalFire issued two citations for this infraction – one to the property owner and one to the logging company.

Then they started construction of an equipment storage pad. However, South Fork Wolf Creek, a perennial tributary of Wolf Creek, runs close by, and RISE neglected to follow the simple minimum 100’ riparian setback requirement for streams in Nevada County. This is not a complicated rule: one simply needs a measuring tape, some wooden stakes, and a hammer. Start at the “Ordinary High Water Mark” of the stream, measure 100’, and drive some stakes. To be safe, add 5’. Connect the dots and you have a line showing the non-disturbance zone: no construction, no equipment, no disturbance is allowed.

Nevertheless, RISE’s newly-graded pad was clearly located on the wrong side of the line by 10’ or 20’, and they encroached even farther with heavy equipment, a large pile of logs, and stacks of brush and small trees. For these violations, the County required RISE to file a Management Plan, which told them to remove the logs and clean up the worst of the thrashed non-disturbance zone. When this was done, the company moved in their big exploratory drilling equipment. Apparently, still no one had pulled out a measuring tape; the equipment was set down on the wrong side of the line. This time the County insisted on a second, much more comprehensive Management Plan. Eventually, they installed the stakes correctly and relocated the equipment once more to protect South Fork Wolf Creek.

All of this took about a year, and then RISE fired up their heavy equipment. That’s when the neighbors really started to complain.

You probably know the area around the intersection of Brunswick, East Bennett, and Greenhorn Roads. Since the last of the Grass Valley mines closed in the 1950s, this has become a quiet, highly desirable, rural-residential neighborhood. Most lots are 1 to 5 acres, with easy access to both downtown Grass Valley and Glenbrook. The homes are on private wells and septic tanks.

The exploratory equipment operated by RISE for 16 months was essentially a super-sized well-drilling rig. It could go a mile deep and was multi-directional, so it could “explore” under neighboring properties. There was no county or state oversight on damage it might do to local aquifers or water wells. And it operated 24/7. The neighbors, being subjected to continuous loud noise and bright lights, had to call the sheriff in the middle of the night and file complaints; eventually RISE constructed a 20’ tall canvas “sound barrier”, to almost no effect. One County Supervisor visited a neighboring house and was astounded by the noise impacting a residential area.

Then, in November 2019, in spite of their history of repeated violations, RISE submitted an application to the County to reopen the Idaho-Maryland mine.

This is a company that has never actually operated a mine of any kind; like the previous two attempts to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine, they will be spending millions of investors’ money to learn, once again, that it is still a bad idea.

By Mike Shea

Cedar Ridge

As you may have heard, a Canadian company, Rise Gold Corporation, and its subsidiary Rise Grass Valley, Inc. (Rise GV), have filed an application with Nevada County for a permit to reopen the Idaho Maryland gold mine.

I wanted to know as much as possible about the proposed operation, so have been going through the documents Rise GV submitted to the County to support their application. After reviewing the Project Description, the Groundwater Hydrology and Water Quality Analysis, the Noise and Vibration Analysis, and the Greenhouse Gas Analysis, I am against reopening the mine. Here’s why.

Living next door to the proposed mine site, I have some selfish reasons for opposing it. For one thing, my wife and I will have to move, because the noise from the mine will be unbearable. We will no doubt lose money when and if we can sell our house, since the mine will lower the value of our property. After all, who wants to live next door to a gold mine? If you do, I have a house to sell you!

The noise study Rise GV paid for tries to assure us all the nonstop noise will be “less than significant,” but I find that self-serving, rather than reassuring. The mine will run 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Each day, 1,500 tons of rock will be hoisted to the surface, dropped into a silo, and then transported over a conveyor system. 1,000 tons of rock will be ground down to facilitate extracting the gold. From 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM, 1,000 tons of rock will be dumped into metal trailers and then hauled away. Noise from the mine will be nonstop. Right now, all I hear is occasional traffic noise, or a dog barking. In the summer, I like to open my windows and sliding door. I won’t be able to do that anymore.

I also have some unselfish reasons for opposing the mine. First, the Greenhouse Gas Analysis that Rise GV commissioned, says at a minimum the mine will emit close to 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. Gold isn’t a strategic metal vital to modern technology or industry. According to the World Gold Council, 9% of the gold supply is used in electronics, 52% in jewelry, and 27% in bar and coin. That means 79% of the carbon belched into our air would be for jewelry or investments for the wealthy.

Not mentioned in the Greenhouse Gas Analysis is the contaminated air that will be exhausted from the mine shaft, 24 hours a day, every day. The mine expects to use close to a ton of ammonia nitrate fuel oil and 257 blast detonators every day. The fumes and dust (which contains asbestos and silica) from this blasting will be vented into our air, along with other chemical and physical contaminants found in gold mines. The documents submitted by Rise did not specify where the wind would carry the exhaust, where it might come down, or what it would contain.

The Groundwater Hydrology study Rise Grass Valley paid for used analytical, conceptual, and numerical models to assure us that wells won’t go dry and that “the project would not have any significant impact on groundwater supplies.” Yet after the mine shaft is dewatered, they will still suck out over a million gallons of groundwater a day. In spite of their models I wonder how removing all that water might affect our forests. Will it further dry out our trees and increase the fire danger in our community, which is already rated as a “Very High” Fire Hazard Severity zone?

Another concern is the truck traffic. Trucks will be carrying tons of explosives through our town; and every day trucks will be making between 50 and 100 round trips hauling fill rock (containing asbestos and silica). For the first eleven years they will travel to Rise GV’s Centennial site next to DeMartini RV and within the Brunswick property. After that they will travel down Brunswick Road to Highway 49 and on to unspecified locations. Every day.

If it’s the possible new jobs that make you support reopening the mine, “possible” is a key word. And keep in mind that gold mines aren’t a sure-fire thing. What happened to the jobs created by the following gold mines: San Juan Ridge Mine, Sutter Gold Mine, Zortman-Landusky Mine, Buckhorn Mountain Mine, Mineral Ridge Mine, and Pimenton Mine? Gone.