Grass Valley, CA - December 22, 2019
The county staff are currently reviewing the application and preparing to start the CEQA process. The application overview can be viewed here. The project details per the applicant’s documents can be viewed here.
CEA Foundation (aka formerly CLAIM-GV) was among the agencies and groups that were contacted and invited to submit preliminary comments to provide additional information at this early stage. A comment letter was produced by the collective efforts of CEA Mining Committee and submitted on Dec16. The Mining Committee drew heavily upon experience from prior mining projects to produce this document.
This is the start of the permitting process which will probably take more than a year. Once the application is deemed complete and a CEQA Notice of Preparation (NOP) is recorded, public scoping meetings will follow in which possible impacts are identified for study for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).
At this preliminary phase, CEA has identified many areas of great concern. Most notable:
Possible misguidance to investors – The obstacles to permitting and high costs of development and operations are not adequately delineated.
Significant GHG emissions – Initial electric usage will be at least 50 GWH/yr, or about 20% of Nevada County’s total usage. Significant fossil fuels will also be used. It needs to be net zero.
Impacts of dewatering – Among other things, plans to dewater into South Fork Wolf Creek were rejected in prior DEIR process due to impacts of permanent flood stage downstream.
Ground water risks – Potential pollution risks from operations, tailings, explosives, gold processing and threat to local wells beyond the area currently identified.
Truck traffic – Up to 16 trips/hour for up to 80 years.
Noise – 24/7 Operations, high velocity fans, aggregate trucks loading, etc.
Subterranean reclamation – Risks of toxic leaching over time from 500 tons/day of slurry backfills
Economic impacts – Negative impacts on local housing, tourism, high tech businesses
Regulatory challenges – Constant monitoring will needed on numerous operations.
Habitat loss -Replacing large areas of forested woodlands with barren gravel fill, including “engineered fill” covering 75 acres to depths of 30-70 feet.
Sept 29, 2019 – RISE Gold has obtained over $3.5M in funding and is preparing to apply for a mining permit. As in the previous case with Emgold Mining Co, this junior mining company from Canada is spinning a fantastic story about the prospects of the Idaho-Maryland Mine and finding speculators willing to throw their money at the project. (See risegoldcorp.com)
June 1, 2019 – The noise stopped. RISE Gold apparently completed their exploratory drilling operations. This is a great relief to the area residents who have been suffering from the noise.
Drilling Noise – Residents in the area have been very impacted by the 24/7 drilling noise.
Numerous complaints were made to Nevada County officials for noise violations. However, since a previous sound study by an independent acoustical consultant showed that the sound levels were marginally within legal limits, County officials were not responsive.
Residents then challenged the validity of the sound study due to the placement of the metering and due to the fact that the drilling operators had full knowledge that the metering was taking place. Measurements of the noise by residents showed noise levels in excess of the legal limits during the hours of 10:00 PM – 7:00 AM. Supervisor Dan Miller made a site visit and agreed that the noise level in a neighboring house was unacceptably loud.
As no action was being taken by the County, in May 2019 a number of people made public comments to the Board of Supervisors requesting that the drilling at least be shut down during the night. Unfortunately, no code violations were issued and no initiatives were undertaken by the BOS. Apparently, in order to compel action with the county, the residents would have to pay for a costly sound study to show that noise levels are in violation.
10/1/18 RISE violations continue — CEA Foundation continues to monitor the activities of RISE Gold Corp, the new owner of the Idaho Maryland Mine. RISE has now acquired most of the land that was previously owned or lease-optioned by Emgold, in addition to some other parcels. Since Fall 2017 they have been doing extensive drilling at the “New Brunswick” site located near the intersection of East Bennett and Brunswick Rd, adjacent to the old SPI site. (Millsite Rd).
In mid-September 2018, RISE moved their drilling operations from near the old SPI site to the newly constructed pad at the west side of their holdings (12603 East Bennett Rd). In setting up their equipment, RISE again violated the 100’ setback from the creek! This was in spite of having been required to hire a biologist to prepare a Biological Management Plan as a consequence of prior violations last winter (see below). Also, there has been some controversy regarding their method of measurement for establishing the 100’ setback. County ordinance requires that the setback be measured from the high water mark or the top of bank, which is apparently not the case here. The County is now requiring the biologist to reflag the correct setbacks and possibly restore a larger area in the riparian zone.
Local residents have filed complaints about noise from the drilling operations. To mitigate that, RISE has constructed a sound wall.