MEDIA ADVISORY FOR
December 13, 2021

Coalition to protect Virginia from metals mining to announce formation and initiation of scientific study
New legislative efforts to support pause on permitting

CONTACT
Stephanie Rinaldi, Coalition Coordinator, Press Pause Coalition
PressPauseVA@gmail.com   434-270-0706

Richmond, VA – A virtual press conference will be held Monday, December 13 from 3:00-3:30p.m. to announce the launch of a statewide coalition to protect Virginia communities from the threat of large-scale metals mining operations.  The coalition will also provide updates on the study of gold mining in Virginia being conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine; and announce new legislation around metals mining for the upcoming General Assembly Session.

Speakers will include Dan Holmes, Director of State Policy at the Piedmont Environmental Council; Stephanie Rinaldi, Coalition Coordinator of the Press Pause Coalition; Deacon Harvey Shelton, impacted community member, and a message from Delegate Shelly Simonds (HD92). The press conference will be held via Zoom at this link (registration required).

The work being done by these organizations is in response to exploration for metals being conducted by a Canadian junior mining company in three Virginia counties: Buckingham, Campbell and Pittsylvania.  The company has mentioned metals deposits across the state of Virginia, hinting that commercial metals mining operations may target communities across the Commonwealth.  The negative impacts of commercial metals mining operations to water and public health are well-documented and numerous, and local and state-wide organizations are joining together in hopes of preventing these harms, and to examine historic residual harms from unreclaimed mines.

Who: Impacted community members and environmental advocates

When: Monday, December 13, 3:00-3:30p.m.

What: Virtual Press Conference announcing the launch of a statewide coalition and legislation to protect Virginia from metals mining

Where: Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvdOCvrTwrEtIq7_en7jn3QKjHw25tgVr_

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Good media coverage of the press conference:

Exploratory drilling for copper, zinc underway in Pittsylvania County as new environmental coalition forms

A Canadian company is drilling for copper and zinc on private property in Pittsylvania County.

The Toronto-based exploratory company, Aston Bay Holdings Ltd., is drilling holes about 1,000 feet deep and about 3.5 inches in diameter on the property owned by two landowners.

“We’re just their partner helping them investigate the potential value of their land,” said Ashton Bay CEO Thomas Ullrich, during a telephone interview Monday afternoon.

The project — which is on about 2,000 acres of land — was first announced through the company’s subsidiary, Blue Ridge Mining Inc., on Aug. 25.

The Danville Register & Bee learned of the project through a Zoom news conference Monday afternoon by the environmental group Appalachian Voices.

Read more at the Danville Register & Bee, December 13, 2021, by John Crane


New coalition aims to pause permitting on some mining operations in Virginia

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST|Updated: 14 hours ago

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – A newly formed coalition is turning its attention to mining in the Commonwealth, fearing what they say are the potential effects on drinking water.

During a virtual press conference Monday, members of the Press Pause VA Coalition said they’re focused on slowing the permitting process for copper, lead and zinc mining.

Stephanie Rinaldi, Coalition Coordinator, said exploratory mining companies like Aston Bay are already drilling for those metals in areas like Pittsylvania County.

Rinaldi said Press Pause VA hopes their efforts bring attention to the potential effects of mining those metals, much like similar efforts made by the General Assembly to study the effect of gold mining.

Read more at WDBJ 7, Roanoke, VA


Gold mining study begins as discoveries continue in Virginia

Report on potential impacts of gold mining and state regulations due to lawmakers by late 2022
BY: SARAH VOGELSONG – DECEMBER 21, 2021 12:01 AM reporting for the Virginia Mercury

A group of scientists and engineers tasked with evaluating the potential impacts of gold mining on Virginia kicked off work last week with questions on issues ranging from deposits to mining company bonds.

“We are overdue to look into modern mining techniques,” said Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Prince William, during the first meeting of a committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  “We have the time now before we commit to this to study the issue and get the full picture of how gold mines will affect those regions.”

Continue reading at the Virginia Mercury.

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