A day or so after Jeff Ackerman published his recent Union op-ed bemoaning the regulatory hurdles Emgold must overcome in order to get permits to re-open the Idaho-Maryland mine, an article appeared in The Union (“Mine plan pushes forward“) that contains the same kind of biases and inaccuracies found in a typical Emgold press release. This similarity is most likely due to the fact that the only source for the article — aside from Chauncey Poston, who is quoted briefly — is David Watkinson, president and CEO of Emgold, who is quoted copiously.
Here are a few examples of biases and inaccuracies from the article, followed in each case by my commentary.
FROM THE ARTICLE: “A draft environmental review document has been on hold and the application withdrawn since mid-2009.”
THE FACT: Not true. If the application had been formally withdrawn, Emgold would be obliged to start over from the beginning with a new (not revised) DEIR, as Joe Heckel said in his interview with Paul Emery on KVMR on Nov. 23rd. If the application is withdrawn, Heckel said, Emgold would have to “refile their application and re-initiate the process.” If Emgold fails to meet its April 2011 deadline, by the way, the application will be considered withdrawn.
ARTICLE: The DEIR would have to be ” … re-circulated for public review because of the time passed.”
FACT: The DEIR has to be revised and recirculated because it is inadequate. Examples of issues not properly addressed — or not addressed at all — include acid mine drainage (AMD), air quality impacts from asbestos and silica dust, cyanide transport risks, etc. The DEIR would have to be recirculated even if no time had passed, although the passage of so much time adds urgency to the requirement for sound business reasons.
ARTICLE: “Since the last time the project went before the public, plans have been revisited to treat any water discharged into Wolf Creek, bringing it to drinking-water standards, Watkinson said.”
SUGGESTION: Talk to Citizens Looking at the Impact of Mining in Grass Valley (CLAIM-GV) and to the Wolf Creek Community Alliance (WCCA) to get a sense of how credible Watkinson’s claim is on this issue. Why have we been waiting more than a year to see those revised plans?
ARTICLE: “Air quality will also be addressed, using cleanest diesel engines and replacing combustion engines with electrical or pneumatic where possible, Watkinson added.”
FACT: The DEIR termed the air quality problem “unmitigatable.” See other impacts on air quality besides diesel (e.g., asbestos and silica dust). See http://claim-gv.org/brochure.html#references.
ARTICLE: “Watkinson said the ceramic tile-making portion of the operation could outstrip the gold mining operation in revenue.”
EXTRMELY UNLIKELY: So why bother with the gold mine here? Why not build a tile factory in Nevada? CLAIM has done an excellent financial analysis of the dubious tile factory business plan.
CONTACT INFO FOR CLAIM:
mailing address: PO Box 2096, Grass Valley, CA 95945
voicemail: (530) 264-6058
CONTACT INFO FOR WOLF CREEK ALLIANCE: Phone 530.272.2347
I sent most of the information above to the author of the Union article, with a recommendation to consult additional sources when writing about Emgold in the future. So far, I have not received a reply.
Apparently Emgold is relying substantially on The Union — with some success — for a major portion of its PR campaign with the city.