Editor’s Note: Mike Shea posted the following letter to the Cedar Ridge Nextdoor website on April 15th. Cedar Ridge residents will be most powerfully affected by Rise Gold’s planned noisy operations.
Idaho-Maryland Mine Reopening—Noise Impacts
April 15, 2020
In case you haven’t heard, Rise Grass Valley, Inc.—a subsidiary of a Canadian company, Rise Gold Corporation—has filed an application with Nevada County for a permit to reopen the Idaho- Maryland gold mine. Unlike when Emgold wanted to reopen the mine several years ago, the Rise GV gold mining operation would take place right in our neighborhood, at the old Bohemia sawmill property at the corner of Brunswick Road and East Bennet Road.
So you can know how the mine will affect you if it is allowed to reopen, from time to time I will post relevant information. What follows concerns the noise Rise GV says the mine will create if approved. The Information comes from the Idaho-Maryland Mine Project Description and the Noise and Vibration Analysis Rise GV submitted with its application.
Construction of the above-ground buildings is estimated to take 18 months. During the construction phase, several industrial buildings—including a 65’ tall (6 story) processing plant—will be built on the Bohemia sawmill property. Exterior construction would occur between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (Rise GV estimates that, at the nearest residences, the maximum sound level from this construction would be between 51-69 decibels. For comparison, an average, leaf blower is said to put out around 70-75dB.) Construction inside the buildings would be done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Adding to the noise, approximately 18.7 acres of trees would be removed.
Construction noise is exempt from Nevada County noise standards, meaning that neighbors would just have to live with whatever noise is generated 24-hours a day for a year and a half.
Once the processing buildings are finished, the mine will be dewatered and the actual mining operations would begin. Rise GV plans call for operating both the above-ground and below-ground mining operations 24 hours a day, every day of the week for 80 years.
1,500 tons of rock would be removed from the mine every day. The rock would be hoisted 85’ above the surface and dropped onto a steel chute located inside the existing concrete silo that you can see from Brunswick and East Bennet roads. From the silo, a chute and 335’ conveyor system would transfer the gold-bearing rock into the processing plant, where the rock would be ground down in a grinding mill to facilitate extracting the gold.
The non-gold bearing rock—referred to as “engineered fill”—would be transferred by conveyor to an enclosed truck-loading building and loaded into metal trailers attached to 5-axle haul trucks. For the next 4 or 5 years, the fill would be hauled from the Brunswick site to the Centennial Industrial Site (“Engineered Fill Site” in the map following, bordered by Idaho Maryland Road, Centennial Drive, and the DeMartini RV site) from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., 7 days a week. Trucks would be making this round trip between 50 and 100 times a day.
Once the Centennial site has been filled to capacity, the fill will be hauled across [to?] the Brunswick site. There, the fill would be dumped, compacted, and graded by bulldozers, graders, excavators, and other support equipment. The equipment used will emit backup warning beeps. The 31-acre dumpsite will be filled until reaching 2,800 feet in elevation. This operation is expected to last about 5 years. The closest home to the Brunswick fill site appears to be on Mink Court, only 300 feet away.
After the Brunswick site has been filled, the fill will again be hauled offsite from 6:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night, 7 days a week. Trucks would be making this round trip between 50 and 100 times a day. This schedule would go on for the next 70 years.
In addition to the noise of the hoisting, conveying, dropping, and grinding tons of rock, and besides the noise the fill operation would create, as a resident of the area you can expect to hear noise from some, or all of the following, every hour of the day, every day of the week: a ventilation fan exhausting air at 200,000 cubic feet per minute; compressors; hoists; shaking tables; a furnace; water treatment plant pumps; a turbine aerator in the water treatment pond, and, possibly, the sound of underground blasting.
In addition to the nonstop noise just mentioned, 174 vehicles would arrive and leave the site during a 7:00 a.m. shift change. The main access to the facility would be the current gate on Brunswick Road near Wood Rose Way. (That would almost surely necessitate a stoplight or lights to control the added traffic.) Also, when PG&E shuts down our power, the mine will fire-up four, 2,655 horsepower diesel generators to power the mine’s equipment. The generators would be located in a building next to Brunswick Road.
According to the sound study Rise Grass Valley, Inc./Rise Gold Corporation commissioned, the cumulative noise generated by all this activity, including the blasting in the mine shaft, would be “less than significant” to us nearby residents!
Please, pay attention to the noise you hear over the next few days, then consider what you are going to hear all day, every day if Rise Grass Valley’s application is approved. What will you hear if you open your windows during summer nights? When you work outside or sit on your deck?
The project description, noise study, and other documents related to Rise GV’s application can be obtained at https://www.mynevadacounty.com/2882/Application-Documents.
If you object to having an industrial-scale gold mine in your neighborhood, here some things you can do:
- Voice your objections with Matt Kelley, the Project Planner for the County. Mr. Kelly can be reached by phone at or by email: email@example.com.
- Voice your objections with Dan Miller, who is our District 3 Supervisor. (As of March 2020, Mr. Miller has not taken a position for or against the mine.) Mr. Miller’s contact information is and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submit a letter to the editor, or submit an “Other Voices” opinion piece in The Union newspaper stating your opposition to the mine. Letters to the editor must be less than 200 words, Other Voices pieces may be 500-750 words in length. (Other Voices articles must include your name, address, daytime phone number, and a paragraph at the end describing yourself.) You can email a letter to the editor or Other Voices piece to email@example.com.
- If you delay or decide against home improvement projects because the mine may be approved, let your contractors and suppliers know the mine is the reason why you aren’t buying.
- I understand that the Nevada County Board of Realtors is undecided on this issue. Let your Realtor friends know that you are concerned about your property’s value if the mine is approved. Rise GV is currently seeking investors and is painting a rosy picture of their chances of getting the mine approved. I encourage you to make your voice heard now before it is too late.