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George Olive: Add a voice to 'No' on the mine

Please commit to involvement, first by imagining a noisy, messy, incompatible mine in operation in our quiet, small town; and second by joining your neighbors at the Planning Commission meeting on May 10 and 11.

The following opinion piece was first published in The Union.


Apr 13, 2023

Are you paying attention to the Idaho-Maryland Mine controversy? Do you understand what a mess re-opening this mine will make? Not might make; will make. The proposed mitigations are pitiful. The Economic and Environmental Reports are misleading and full of holes. Tune in to a group of your fellow citizens dedicating a pile of volunteer hours digging into the thousands of pages of misleading environmental details, incomplete data, and empty “fixes” for what an operating mine would spin-off. Their concerns? The negative impacts on Wolf Creek. Piles of toxic mine tailings. Continuous heavy truck traffic on Brunswick Road. Substantial damage to air quality from asbestos. Damage to wooded acres with healthy identified floral and bird species. Threats to local wells. And noise, lots of noise.

What can you do to push our county’s decision-makers to say “NO!” to this backwards-looking project?

First, mark your calendar: On May 10 (and likely May 11, too) plan on committing hours to attend a critical County Planning Commission meeting. Just attend. All or part. If you have something to say – three minutes – this is the time and place. Should Grass Valley revert to being a mining community? The Commission will recommend one way or the other, to proceed with this project or not, to the Board of Supervisors. Your presence at the Rood Center at 9 a.m. — or earlier if you have a comment — would be your worthy statement on our local quality of life.

Second, as you drive around Brunswick Basin or on Whispering Pines (that road name would be meaningless if the mine opens … maybe, Toxic Dust Pines?) or out Brunswick Road by the mine site or along E. Bennett Road, picture the mine in full operation. Be aware of the sweet little So. Fork of Wolf Creek that runs through the mine site and along E. Bennett and the State Park’s meadow there. Picture toxic mine waste in the creek. Real estate for sale signs. Picture a truck full of tailings on your bumper. They’ll be dumping — thousands of cubic yards of toxic waste rock for a decade — in the Centennial site right there off Whispering Pines where the fire was. Kiss that whole area good-bye. Some of that site looks ugly now, but it is reclaimable — unless Rise Gold ruins it.

Third, imagine you own property on E. Bennett, Brunswick Road, or Greenhorn … or you have a business along the trucking route. This mine project is right in your face. This is heavy, polluting industry in the middle of a peaceful residential part of a small town. People have wells. Nights are quiet. Folks commute or drive to schools safely on these roads. Bike riders cruise these routes. Kiss all that good-bye, too. The operation of a gold mine in town is so incompatible to our lifestyle that it’s a sad joke. A head-shaker. The current light industrial zoning designation is correct, proof that a mine does not belong here. Rise Gold — or whatever mining outfit from far away they sell the mine to — will blast and excavate and pile mine tailings in a huge, toxic mound visible from Brunswick Road. Folks on Greenhorn will get to hear the cacophony. These safe roads will change for the worse, will deteriorate under Rise Gold’s fleet of trucks. The surrounding neighborhoods will be next door to heavy industrial mining. The County’s General Plan will have to change to allow Heavy Industrial in this neighborhood.

Please commit to involvement, first by imagining a noisy, messy, incompatible mine in operation in our quiet, small town; and second by joining your neighbors at the Planning Commission meeting on May 10 and 11. Each of us is represented by one of the Commissioners. We need these individuals to know what we think about our county’s bringing industrial scale gold mining into our neighborhoods. Our Planning Commissioners are preparing to make motions about the mine project and cast their votes. Join in on opposing this incompatible, impactful mining project.

George Olive, Banner Mountain


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