Virginia was one of the first major gold-producing states in the U.S., but it has seen only limited and intermittent gold mining activity in the last 70 years. Recent increase in gold prices and other factors have brought renewed attention to mining gold at both new and historical sites in Virginia.

This report provides an evaluation of the gold deposits in Virginia, the probable modern mining techniques that could be used at such deposits, and whether existing regulations in the Commonwealth are sufficient to protect air and water quality and human health from potential impacts of gold mining activities.

The report concludes that Virginia’s current regulatory framework, which typically addresses sand and gravel mining, is not adequate to address the potential impacts of commercial gold mining and lacks an adequate financial assurance system, which poses a fiscal and environmental risk to the Commonwealth.  Additionally, Virginia lacks opportunities for the public to be engaged in permitting processes and a modern system for review of environmental impacts from potential gold mining projects.

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Commentary by George M. Neall III

Retired mining engineer; Construction inspector, welding

Below is a cut and paste from pages 172 – 173.
As detailed above, Virginia’s present regulatory structure is not adequate to protect against the potential environmental degradations that could accompany gold mining activities. Stronger requirements for bonding, public engagement, and the review of environmental impacts are necessary; as well as updated regulatory capabilities, exemptions, performance standards, and guidance documents in order to protect human health and the environment.
RECOMMENDATION: To protect against the potential impacts of gold mining, the General Assembly and state agencies should update Virginia’s laws and its regulatory framework.

I quickly scanned through the 213 page report. There’s a lot of good information in it and it looks very professional. But…..

The way I read the cut and paste from the report (above), is “gold mining in Virginia can be safely done if Virginia updates its laws and regulatory framework.” I disagree with this conclusion based upon the fact that gold mining is being done in numerous states that have “updated laws and regulatory framework” yet the gold mines are still polluting the environment. This was made abundantly clear earlier in the report and in previous ious meetings and presentations.

This seems to be THE recommendation from the report. Is that the intent? Does the entire report boil down to this statement?

Thanks for your commentary George!

 

 

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