Ban Gold-mining

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: info@friendsofbuckinghamva.org

 

10 Major Concerns

1) Dewatering of mines impacting water table for miles around
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

Take Action!

#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.

To read the ordinance and more, visit the Virginia Community Rights Network (VACRN) 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

February 2023:  Buckingham Supervisor Meeting Monday 2/13, 6 pm. For past and current packet, agenda, and video, click here. Sign up for public comments 5:30-5:55.

County gold mining committee meeting #2, Monday 2/13, 4:30 pm in the Administration Building. The County will not be recording. Experts Ben Price and Joe Lerch will be invited. Read more about the committee here.

January 2023:

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. Sign up for public comment 5:30-5:55 pm.

December 2022:

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.

November 2022:

National Academy of Sciences hosted a report release webinar on November 2. For links to the report – scroll up to the Take Action section.

Next State Agency Committee (SAC) work group meeting:  Rescheduled from October 18, to Thursday, November 3, from 9 am – 3 pm. See Take Action above for more info.

Buckingham Supervisor meeting: Tuesday 11/15, 6 pm; sign up to comment 5:30-5:55. Watch the meeting on YouTube.  Ben Price presents, consultant for the proposed rights-based ordinance, with the Coumminty Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF); begins at 16:45 minutes. Public comments follow. Check out David Waters’ comments at 57:50.

October 2022:

Board of Supervisor meeting: Tuesday 10/11, 6 pm. Sign up to comment 5:30-5:55. Adopt the rights-based ordinance Now! View the YouTube recording here. Public comments start at 16 minutes.

SAC draft report:  The state agency committee of the workgroup is currently drafting its companion document. To view the latest version, please click here. This document will be revised as sections are added and discussed at public meetings. To comment on the draft report, please click here to post to the public Town Hall (preferred as this is shared with the public) or email goldstudy@energy.virginia.gov.

September 2022: 

Board of Supervisor meeting (second Mondays): 9/12, 6 pm. Sign up to comment 5:30-5:55. Adopt the rights-based ordinance Now! View the YouTube recording here. Our public comments start at 36:13 minutes.

Comment Writing Party (online): Tuesday 9/13, 6:30 pm. Register here. Public comments are being received by the State Study through September 30, and your voice is needed to say NO to large-scale gold mining in VA. Press Pause Coalition

Next State Agency work group meetings: Monday September 26 from 9 am – noon. Tuesday October 18 from 9 am – noon.

August 2022:

State Agency work group meeting Friday August 26, 9 am to Noon, at the Buckingham Community Center

Buckingham Music & Meeting: Saturday August 27, 2:45; Union Grove Baptist Church, 2522 Shelton Store Road. In support of the proposed rights-based Freedom from Toxic Trespass Ordinance. Preparation for September 12 Board of Supervisors meeting.

Board of Supervisor meeting (second Mondays): 8/8, 6 pm. View the YouTube recording here. Our public comments start at 4 minutes. Listen to agenda item O2 – Metallic Mining Ordinance Update at 2:42. See Memo from County Attorney to Board of Supervisors here.

July 2022:

VACRN & FoB submit comments to NAS and VA Regulatory Town Hall.  See article about partnership to advance rights-based ordinance to protect Buckingham from toxic trespass.
SELC and CBF  statewide coalition sign on to letter to NASEM 7/7/22

For past timeline information, see this document.

Quick Resources

  • 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.

 

Videos

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.

Gold Prospecting in VA Educational Webinar
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
One hour

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