FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2021
Buckingham, VA – Friends of Buckingham, a community advocacy group known for its work to protect Buckingham County and the community of Union Hill from the now-canceled Atlantic Coast pipeline, applauds the passing of HB2213 by the House of Delegates on Friday. Since the bill’s introduction by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman, the group has strongly advocated for HB2213, which would establish a moratorium on the issuance of permits for commercial gold mining until a study can be done on the potential dangers such operations would pose to nearby communities.
HB2213 was developed in response to the revelation that a Canadian mining exploration company, Aston Bay Holdings, LTD, had been performing exploratory drilling for gold for four years without the knowledge of the local Buckingham community until relatively recently. The potential dangers to water quality and public health from commercial gold mining, which oftentimes uses cyanide for ore processing and dewatering for maintaining mine sites, are well-documented. Buckingham community members acknowledge that the study mandated by the bill is crucial to protect Virginians in the gold-pyrite belt that spans across the state, especially since the study would be done specific to the geography and climate of Virginia, and with input from the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and impacted communities. Now that HB2213 has passed the House, the group is calling for the Senate to acknowledge the importance of the legislation as well and send it to Governor Northam’s desk.
Chad Oba, president of Friends of Buckingham, said, “After having to go through the threat of environmental injustice from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, we are thankful that the House sees the value of a study and a moratorium on another toxic industry targeting Buckingham, commercial gold mining, which is different than other types of mining in the Commonwealth. Virginia has never had to regulate the impactful operations related to modern gold mining. It is prudent to take a close look at the impacts and what it could mean for the Commonwealth.”
Stephanie Rinaldi, a community member near the potential mining property, said “When I heard they found gold a mile from my house, I panicked. A gold mine here would upend my entire life. I’m so grateful and relieved that the House passed HB2213, and sincerely hope the Senate does the same. We at least need to study and understand this industry before permits are issued.”
To learn more on the threats of gold mining to the local community, please see this short video. For more information, please reach out to Friends of Buckingham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-806-6332 or visit their website.
Chad Oba, President, Friends of Buckingham