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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are just some of our concerns:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.