Take Action to protect Virginia from the dangers of commercial gold-mining
We have the right and the responsibility to protect the health, water, air and land of rural Buckingham and potentially millions of Commonwealth residents along the Virginia Gold-Pyrite Belt and downstream from the well known ravages of industrial gold mining.
Scroll to the Take Action box below to speak up at the local and state levels. Below are quick resources, updates and timelines. Search the blog history for in-depth information. Watch informative videos.
Thanks to community members and state allies, and especially Delegate Guzman, we got legislation through the General Assembly in March 2021 to conduct a statewide, comprehensive study about the impacts of gold mining and evaluate existing regulations. The final bill HB2213 can be read here. This resulted in state agencies hiring the National Academies of Sciences (NASEM) to do the study. NASEM is readying to make its report to the General Assembly by December 1, 2022. Please voice your concerns!
Thank YOU! For your advocacy.
We have yard signs, bumper stickers and pins! Please email for your signs: email@example.com
10 Major Concerns
2) Airborne toxins impacting the local area
3) Leaching of toxins into groundwater
4) Acid Mine Drainage
5) Catastrophic mine waste (tailings) dam failures
6) VA has no regulations on the use of cyanide
7) Forever toxic sites, leaving the forever burden to the taxpayers
8) Virginia’s rainfall is a huge problem – let alone the climate crisis with increasingly devastating storms
9) Local governments are enticed by tax revenue that will never cover the true costs
10) Negligible number of local jobs – most are specialized, imported from elsewhere
#1 Buckingham County residents and landowners:
Please ADD YOUR SUPPORT to the Community Bill of Rights, a proposed common sense ordinance that would protect the health, safety and general welfare of the residents and natural environment of Buckingham County:
- Claims our right and responsibility to make decisions locally to protect our communities.
- Protects us from the toxic trespass of industrial metallic mining.
- Prove It First! Show us another metallic mine that has caused no harm.
SPEAK UP! Your voice is needed! The ordinance has been presented to the Board of Supervisors. Tell them to adopt the rights-based ordinance! Second Mondays, 6 pm. Sign up to comment 5:30-5:55 pm.
Read the ordinance HERE.
For more information, visit the Virginia Community Rights Network (VACRN) project landing page.
#2 National Academies of Sciences gold mining study
The NASEM study has been released. For the 4 page summary, click Here. For the full report click Here.
Overall, the report concludes that “the regulatory framework of Virginia appears to have been designed for operations like sand and gravel operations, not gold mining. As such, Virginia’s current regulatory framework is not adequate to address the potential impacts of commercial gold mining.1 More specifically, Virginia’s regulatory framework lacks an adequate financial assurance system, which poses a fiscal and environmental risk to the Commonwealth. Additionally, Virginia lacks opportunities for a diverse public to be engaged in permitting processes and a modern system for review of environmental impacts from potential gold mining projects.”
#3 Virginia Energy (formerly DMME): State Agency Committee (SAC) gold mining study work group (impacted VA communities)
SAC Final Report: SAC’s final report was released on Friday, December 2, and is now on the Virginia Energy website gold page. Here is the VE direct link to the report. The entire report is 294 pages. The first 23 pages is the SAC report. Page 25 begins a listing of the public comments. The Copy of the NASEM report begins on page 67. To visit the Virginia Energy Gold Mining Study page and to view past meeting recordings click here.
Updates/Timeline in Brief
Opportunities for comment:
- Supervisor meeting M May 8, 6 pm & Planning Commission M May 22, 5 pm. Sign up to comment 5:30-5:55 pm.
- Buckingham County Administration Building
13360 W James Anderson Hwy, Buckingham, VA 23921
- Online viewing [no commenting] – follow the links to the meeting Agenda/Minutes/YouTube Livestream Here.
Planning Commission Work Session on metallic mining: May 15, 6 pm The County attorney, Mr Wright will present about the legalities of using land use law to ban metallic mining. Attend in person, or to watch the livestream, look Here.
Planning Commission Monthly Meeting 4/24 Watch public comments on metallic mining Here, starting at 8 minutes.
Supervisor Meeting Monday 4/17, 6 pm. For agenda, link to livestream click Here closer to the time. Public comment sign up is 5:30-5:55 pm.
Planning Commission work session on metallic mining Wednesday 4/19, 6 pm. We had 20 minutes to present about the State Study, followed by Q&A. Watch Here.
Planning Commission Meeting Monday 3/27, 6 pm. For the agenda click Here. YouTube recording is Here. Our public comments begin at 16 minutes. Metallic mining agenda presentation is right after – Paul Busch, Goochland Moss gold mine owner/operator speaks for >40 minutes.
Planning Commission Work Session YouTube recording on metallic mining ban via land use ordinance. No public comment period. Monday 3/20, 6 pm. Industry presents: Rob Lanham of VTCA, Guy Dixon – Kyanite mine owner, Prof Erik Westman of VA Tech, Spencer Young of Boxley Slate Mines. Farmville Herald editorial Here.
Supervisor Meeting Monday 3/13, 6 pm. For past and current packet, agenda, and video, click here. YouTube recording Here. Begin at 2:45 for our comments.
Planning Commission Meeting Monday 2/27, 6 pm. Gold mining is on the agenda. For past and current packet, agenda, video click here.
Buckingham Supervisor Meeting Monday 2/13, 6 pm. For past and current packet, agenda, and video, click here.
County gold mining committee meeting #2, Monday 2/13, 4:30 pm in the Administration Building. Recording of the meeting is Here. At 11 minutes Jordan Miles announces that this may be the last meeting…! Experts Ben Price and Joe Lerch presented. Read more about the committee here.
Buckingham Supervisor Meeting Monday 1/9, 6 pm: For the video livestream access to the meeting click here. For the packet, agenda and video, click here.
Buckingham Supervisor Meeting Monday 12/12: Our public comments on YouTube begin at 21 minutes. On the agenda: formation of a committee to review the state gold study report. Starts at 1:46:25.
SAC Final Report is released December 2. See details in Take Action above. Read it on the Virginia Energy site Here.
For past timeline information
Please see this post, which will be updated as room is needed. Timeline starts June 2020.
- April 13, 2023: StoryMap published by International League of Conservation Photographers. After a lengthy battle against a national pipeline, residents of Central Virginia face a new ecological threat – gold mining.
- April 2023: Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has just published their 10 page Toolkit for communities to better understand the land use tools available to regulate, restrict, or prohibit mining activities. To visit their gold mining page click Here. Click on Resources for the Toolkit.
- Buckingham County Zoning Code Here.
- Slide presentation of Legacy Gold Mines – reclamation of gold and mercury by David Spears and Paul Busch. October 2022.
- Map: Virginia’s Former Gold Mines with Priority Level for Reclamation – Piedmont Environmental Council WebMap. October 2022.
- The Statement of Task: to study the impacts of gold mining on Virginia, as agreed upon August 6, 2021 by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the state Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (now Viginia Energy).
- State Agency Statement of Task (SOT), posted 2/28/2022, for the State Agency Committee, including stakeholders. Posted on the Town Hall here.
- Watch: Our most recent video, of October 2021, Meet our neighbors in rural Buckingham, VA, USA, who are speaking out to protect our community and all those downstream and downwind from the lethal toxicity of a proposed industrial gold mine. 16 minutes
- Informational flyers on gold mining
- 4 Maps of impacted communities: 1) DMME Virginia Gold Pyrite Belt & old mine sites (brownfields), 2) DMME, labeled counties, Gold Pyrite Belt & brownfields overlay, 3) VA Gold Pyrite Belt, NOVA insert 4) Warminster, Buckingham exploration sites.
- Map: of Buckingham County abandoned metals mines. Thanks to Daniel Schaffer of Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance (ABRA).
- Interactive map of gold drilling areas in Warminster area of Buckingham and communities impacted. Zoom out for existing brownfields in Buckingham County. More thanks to Dan Schaffer!
- Map: Virginia Downstream Drinking Water Map (downstream from the gold pyrite belt, prime mining area east of the Appalachian Mountains). Thanks to Miller Cochran of Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). And check out their flyer: “Gold mines harm public health and the environment“.
- Follow developments here and at FoB Face Book.
- Watch: Stop the gold mine in Virginia 11 minute video
- Watch: Mine waste dam failure videos (warning – scary, and real): 2019 Brumadinho, Brasil Dam Collapse 3 minutes and 20 minutes.
- Watch: Gold Prospecting in VA Educational Webinar 1/12/2021 One hour recording
- Watch: Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s press conference with us Friday 1/29/2021.
Ben Price presents to the Buckingham Board of Supervisors 11/15/22: Adopt both a rights-based ordinance to protect our freedom from toxic trespass and a land-use ordinance. Start at 16:50. Stay on for our awesome public comments.
Ben Price: Why adopt a rights-based ordinance to protect our freedom from toxic trespass?
1 hr, 32 mins. August 27, 2022, Union Grove Baptist Church.
Share this 4-minute video on social media and with your decision-makers.
January 12, 2021 One hour
Meet our neighbors in rural Buckingham, VA, USA, who are speaking out to protect our community and all those downstream and downwind from the lethal toxicity of a proposed industrial gold mine.
October 2021 16 minutes
How Virginia’s Gold Could Harm Your Community Gold mining webinar
Thursday March 18, 2021 One hour
The Dirty Truth About Gold Mining
Buckingham Planning Commission hear from County attorney on local metallic mining options
Buckingham County attorney EM Wright presented information at a work session on May 15 on options for the Planning Commission to consider for local regulation of metallic mining. Check out this clear coverage by Brian Carlton of the Farmville Herald below. ...
Newsletter #162: Metallic mining & PC 4/19; Apres Film discussions; Carter G Woodson
Click to read the full newsletter
Struck Gold in Virginia: StoryMap by International League of Conservation Photographers
After a lengthy battle against a national pipeline, residents of Central Virginia face a new ecological threat - gold mining. Photography by Karen Kasmauski; Written by Dori Rathmell Published April 13, 2023 Check out this well informed, beautifully photographed Story...
Newsletter #161: Film “Not on our Land”; Metallic mining updates; MVP victories; How wealth rules
Click to read the full newsletter
Cyanide… a discussion on ways to ban its use, and thus halt large scale metallic mining
The effort at the state level to ban cyanide use in mining was at first very well received. But partisan actions killed it in committee, halting any further possibilities in the 2023 General Assembly to protect us from potential metallic mining. We recently discovered...
FoB Website Ban Gold Mining Page Updates/ Timeline in Brief – starting June 2020
Timeline continued from the Gold Mining Page: Updates/Timeline in Brief https://www.friendsofbuckinghamva.org/friends/ban-gold-mining/#Updates November 2022: National Academy of Sciences hosted a report release webinar on November 2. For links to the report – scroll...
Bill to ban use of cyanide in Virginia for mining fails despite early support
A bill that would have banned the use of cyanide in mining and processing operations in Virginia was killed at the last minute Monday. House Bill 1722 from Del. Shelly Simonds, D-Newport News, was sent back to committee the day before crossover, the deadline by which...
Submit a comment in support of HB 1722: prohibits cyanide use in mineral mining
Protect our Water! Thanks to Press Pause Coalition, for writing House Bill 1722 and finding Delegate Simonds to patron it. Now it's up to us to get the comments to the General Assembly. Use this link to find the bill. Click on view comments. See what others have said....
Community needs larger role in gold mining discussion
Brian Carlton, Editor of the Farmville Herald, has been following the gold mining issue closely. In 2 articles last week, he follows the formation of the gold mining committee by the Buckingham Board of Supervisors. The committee was approved at the 12-12-2022 Board...
DRILLING FOR GOLD OpEd Column: Gold mining in Virginia has the makings of an environmental disaster by Jessica Sims
In 2020, Buckingham County residents discovered that a mineral exploration company, Aston Bay, had been performing exploratory drilling for gold in their county since the previous year. Why had Aston Bay looked to Virginia as a prospecting location for new,...