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★ ‘Hung out to dry’: Well owners contend with Idaho-Maryland Mine report’s finding

Want to know why people are so worried about impacts to wells and groundwater? This Union article is a must-read.


By Shira Moolten

Eric Gibbons’ rural Grass Valley water well was one of many that a previous Environmental Impact Report showed would be dewatered if the Idaho-Maryland Mine was reopened. An EIR out for the current efforts to re-open the mine does not show Gibbons’ well is in jeopardy, which he says makes no sense.

“Unless something goes haywire, like I leave a sprinkler on overnight, or a hose pump,” Gibbons said. “Then we’re out of water and it has to recharge a while. But that’s OK, we’ve been here almost 30 years, and that’s just the way it is.”

If Rise Gold Corp. succeeds in reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine, Gibbons fears he may no longer have just enough.

Rise is the third company to attempt to reopen the mine in the past 27 years. If approved, the company would first have to dewater the shafts and tunnels starting 100 feet underground, and maintain that dewatered state for the projected 80 years of mining operations, a process that will reduce, or draw down, the amount of water in nearby wells.

In January, the county released the draft environmental impact report, in which an independent consultant hired by the county reviewed all potential problems posed by the mine, determined their level of significance, and proposed mitigation measures. But while Rise says the report proves that mining won’t dewater wells, local advocacy groups and well owners themselves feel far from reassured.


One major point of contention arising from the draft EIR is the number of wells at risk.


Read the rest of the article online at The Union.


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