The nearby city of Auburn in Placer County restricts mining in areas that are incompatible. Nevada County needs to consider the same. The Idaho-Maryland Mine project certainly fits the same description they used. “Because mining activities would already be incompatible with these developed areas due to noise, dust, traffic and other nuisances, the project site should be developed for non-mining uses.”
This opinion piece was originally published in The Union.
Mar 31, 2023
The economist representing RDN and the Niehaus Economic Impact Report on the proposal to reopen the defunct Idaho Maryland Mine at the 12/15/22 webinar spoke about their research into comparable projects and the impact of introducing industrial mining on real estate values. RDN stated that there were no comparable studies or approvals of mining enterprises as close to residential neighborhoods as the defunct Idaho Maryland Mine is to the 90 homes within a half mile of the proposed industrial site. They also stated they could find no comparable industrial mining enterprises approved or operating 24 hour a day, seven days a week located as close as a half mile to residential development. Therefore, they could only speculate on the impact to real estate values. The obvious question is how many proposed industrial mining projects were rejected by governing municipalities because of the adjacency to residential development and the resulting negative impacts?
Excerpts From Exhibit A, Draft Statement of Reasons to Permit Development in a Mineral Resource Zone, City of Auburn
Our neighboring city of Auburn approved the Baltimore Ravine Specific Plan that proposed a multi-use residential and commercial development in a Mineral Resource Zone. Within this zone, “the State Geologist has concluded that significant inferred gold resources are believed to exist”, however, in spite of potential gold mining tax revenues and jobs, Exhibit A represented that “Mining is Incompatible with adjacent Land Uses”. The areas around the Mineral Resource Zone have been developed with low-density residential uses. “Because mining activities would already be incompatible with these developed areas due to noise, dust, traffic and other nuisances, the project site should be developed for non-mining uses.” Exhibit A goes on to say that even though mining has been a large part of the past in the area, “mining no longer makes up a substantial portion of industrial activity in the County”. Similar to Nevada County, mining in Placer County represents less than .1% of the economy.
Nevada County would be wise to formally acknowledge that industrial gold mining is part of our past and not part of our future. The economy of the future will be built on a diverse mix of clean manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, healthcare, education, arts and entertainment, recreation and tourism, government and government services. Success will draw on the willingness of County, City, non-profits, State and National Forest, utilities, and private sector leadership to collaborate and partner in solutions that lead us to a sustainable and balanced economic future.