Search our Library

163 items found for ""

Blog Posts (137)

  • Rise Gold Investors Beware: Idaho-Maryland Mine Unlikely Before 2034

    Investors often think gold is a safer choice, but even if the stars align, it's unlikely Rise Gold could process their first ounce before 2034. Retired Capital Planner, Paul Schwartz walks us through the timeline and corresponding risks in detail. This piece is also published in The Union. Related: Former U.S. Bankruptcy judge Randall J. Newsome believes it is unlikely the company will be able to follow through with reopening the mine. Fourteen months ago, Nevada County Planning Department published the notice of preparation (July 17, 2020) that presented Rise Gold’s proposal to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine, including 100-plus technical reports prepared under the direction of Rise Gold. The project scope of work and technical reports were made available for review and comments from federal and state agencies, nonprofits, and the public. Nevada County selected Raney Planning and Management to use the technical reports, the Rise Gold project description, and comments as a basis to complete the environmental impact report. This year, Raney Planning and Management submitted a draft administrative environmental impact report for review by Nevada County Planning. Nevada County Planning and Raney Management and Planning directed Rise Gold and their cadre of consultants to update, complete additional data collection, and develop further analysis in many of the technical reports. We are still in the administrative draft phase. If the county accepted the administrative report as complete, it would be retitled the draft environmental impact report and made available to federal and state agencies, Grass Valley and Nevada City, nonprofits, and the public for a 45-day review. Since the proposal is complex, it is likely the review period would be extended to 60 days. This process could easily extend into 2022. The process will include public hearings before the Nevada County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Many agencies will make specific requests that will influence conditions of approval. The Centennial cleanup proposal, also a Rise Gold project, is in the review and determinations phase at the Department of Toxic Substance Control and may influence the mine’s draft environmental impact report. If the department determined that the mine proposal and the Centennial cleanup proposal should have one environmental impact report that covers both projects, we would expect process delays. There is the possibility the notice of preparation and environmental impact report process would need to start over with a new unified scope of work and set of technical reports. Raney Management and Planning would likely redefine their scope of work and enter new agreements with Nevada County. If this were to come to pass, project consideration by the Nevada County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors could slip into 2023 or even 2024. The county supervisors circulated a request for proposal on Sept. 2 to complete an economic impact study of the proposed mining operations. The tentative deadline for submitting a proposal is Oct. 8. The draft economic study submittal date in the request for proposals is February 2022. I expect this is a loose date and may change. The selected consultant would submit a draft report for the supervisors to review and comment. Likely, an additional 60-90 days would be needed to complete a final report. The supervisors could wait for the economic impact study to act on the draft environmental impact report or not. Approval of the draft environmental report is not a project approval. I would not expect the Board of Supervisors to begin the project-approval process before benefiting from a completed economic impact study and vetting the conclusions. The supervisors can approve the draft environmental report and reject the project. At some point the Nevada County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will hold hearings to finalize the draft environmental report, and consultants will draft a final environmental impact report. Public hearings will occur with Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to consider all public and agency comments received during the application process and finalize a decision on the environmental report. If the supervisors approved the environmental impact report, the project would proceed to the entitlements phase and project approval. This phase would require Rise Gold to complete schematic level engineering and architectural designs at a sufficient level for county analysis. Rise Gold would need to acquire the financial resources to fund technical and physical development of the project. Typically, the cost of design, engineering, capital planning and cost modeling is around 10% of the projected budget. If the estimated project cost is $100 million-$200 million, Rise Gold would need to raise $10 million to $20 million to keep the project rolling. There is a long list of state and federal agencies that require their approvals to advance the project. The entitlements phase could easily become a lengthy process. The Loma Rica Ranch Housing Development Plan was originally approved in the 1980s and only this year has it begun grading the project. We could see the entitlements phase extend the approval process into 2025-26. There are likely legal challenges and appeals that will follow any level of approval from the Board of Supervisors. If the Rise Gold proposal to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine survived legal challenges and the appeals, there would likely be new requirements, redesigns, new bench-marking, new standards for energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction, and increased bonding requirements. These might require Rise Gold to increase their capital profile to restart the project. After 18 to 24 months in the courtroom, I expect most of 2028-29 would be needed to restart the project. If Rise Gold were to navigate their way through the environmental review, Board of Supervisors approval, legal challenges and raise enough funding, the two projects would begin rough grading, construct the water treatment pond and the detention pond, construct the underground infrastructure required to support the industrial complex including conduits and pipe for electrical, potable water, waste, fire protection water, data, natural gas or propane, and storm water. Residential properties relying on well water would need replacement water lines run, including a new water main on East Bennett Road. In addition, the new shaft would need to be constructed. While these improvements were underway, evaluation of the existing underground mine shafts and tunnels would need to occur. There is the possibility that de-watering couldn’t be undertaken or completed until many improvements were made to prevent shaft collapse or sink holes throughout the system. There is also the possibility that Idaho-Maryland Mine tunnels connect with Empire Mine tunnels and de-watering would require those connections be shut off. This process would likely extend into 2030-31. Final grading would happen to set the pads for new construction. Infrastructure and utilities would be raised to finished grade and extended where needed. Construction of new buildings would begin. Plans for improvements to the underground mine tunnels based on investigation would continue to advance. A full water treatment facility would have to be constructed, and the treatment buildings, utilities, equipment, treatment pond, pumps and pipelines would need to be completed before de-watering could begin. If all the permits were granted and all the prep work completed, de-watering could start as early as 2031-32. Then construction of a new access shaft would be completed and restoration of existing mine works could begin. When the mine closed for 17 months during World War II, 80% of the Idaho-Maryland shafts were caved in, as reported in Jack Harvey’s history “Gold in Quartz.” One can only imagine the scope of work needed for reopening after 65 years. All of the facilities and infrastructure for underground crushing, processing, transport and dumping would need to be in built and operational before removing any waste rock. Commissioning of all the systems above and below ground would be completed. The Centennial cleanup project would need to be completed before any waste rock could be relocated there. Even if all the stars aligned, processing the first ounce of gold would probably not happen before 2034. Paul S. Schwartz lives in Grass Valley. Postscript: Paul shares this one additional thought. "Since we don't actually know the lag time between pulling the the first tons of crushed product (2034), shipping to a processing destination, separating gold from the crushed bulk, taking it to market, and then finally putting money in the bank, there is even more delay that could be added here. We don't know exactly what that is, but we bet it is slow."

  • Against the mine: Environmentalists, activists explain their opposition to the Idaho-Maryland Mine

    The Union just wrote an article about organizations opposing the mine. What do you think? Did they cover it well? Please read the following then jump over to The Union's post and join the conversation. P.S. If you can't comment on The Union's site, try their Facebook posting. A broad and eclectic range of local organizations have come out in opposition to the Idaho-Maryland Mine, including environmentalist nonprofits, social justice activists, and river conservation groups. Seventeen organizations have signed onto a web campaign, titled “Stop the Mine,” which was initiated by Community Environmental Advocates (CEA), a Grass Valley nonprofit focused on environmental awareness and activism. The organizations that have signed onto the petition formally opposing the mine include The Sierra Fund, Earth Justice Ministries, the South Yuba River Citizens League, and a range of other local entities. While the mission statements and specific focuses of each of the organizations may vary, they all have the same message when it comes to the topic of reopening the Idaho-Maryland Mine: This is a mistake. Read the rest in The Union. Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

  • CEA Comments on Centennial Cleanup Plan

    We all want the Centennial Site cleaned up, but the proposed plan only prepares the site for dumping more mine waste and wants to destroy habitat over sensitive areas. We can do better. The following comments were submitted to the Department of Toxic Substances Control by Community Environmental Advocates Foundation. These comments are the result of a coalition effort that included the Wolf Creek Community Alliance and the Redbud chapter of the California Native Plant Society. In addition, CEA Foundation's law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger, provided extensive legal comments. Learn more about the entire project here. September 24, 2021 Dean Wright Project Manager 800 Cal Center Drive Sacramento,CA95826 (916) 255-3591 Reg: Comments regarding the Centennial M-1 RAP and MND, Project ID 60000716 Dear Mr. Wright, Community Environmental Advocates Foundation (CEA Foundation) has been looking forward to the opportunity to fully support the cleanup of the Centennial site. This 56 acre site is only a short distance from town, and with good planning it has the potential to be developed to support smart growth within a walkable community. The central and southern portions of the property would be ideal for mixed use and medium density housing, providing a rare opportunity to meet some of Grass Valley’s housing needs as well as business and light industrial development within convenient live/work settings. It could ultimately tie in to residential development along East Bennett Rd with easy walking/cycling opportunities along East Bennett Rd and along Wolf Creek. Unfortunately, Rise Gold (dba Rise Grass Valley) has seemingly sought to use this cleanup project as a means of incorporating many of the impacts of the proposed mine. In addition to the required cleanup activities, the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) and Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) include preparation of the site for the dumping of mine waste. Thus, rather than minimizing the destruction of valuable wetlands and riparian habitat, the RAP proposes to destroy all habitat over extensive areas. This constitutes impacts far and above what would be necessary to simply complete the cleanup. Therefore, we cannot support the project as currently proposed. Impacts caused by the mine project should be borne by the mine project, not the cleanup project. 1. An Environmental Impact Report should be prepared for this project As presented in the RAP, all living things over a 37 acre site will be annihilated, and all surface soils will be reworked, mixed with crushed rock and compacted. The project will cause the destruction of all of the 4.35 acres of wetlands, 0.6 acres of seasonal streams and surrounding riparian habitat, woodlands, chaparral, grasslands, plus potentially cause long term impacts to local surface and ground waters, air pollution from equipment operations and fugitive dust. noise, traffic, and aesthetic degradation. On this basis alone there is a fair argument that the project may have a significant effect on the environment and an Environmental Impact Report is required. 2. None of the proposed Remedial Action Alternatives provide for preservation of ANY of the viable wetland habitat. As shown on the project “Site Map” (RAP Sheet 1, pg 131),most of the wetlands are located within the areas designated as “Borrow Areas” (RAP Sheet E2, pg 539). The soils within these areas are considered clean enough to be used as clean cover soil for the Encapsulated Mine Waste Area and areas C1-C15 and is indicated on the grading maps (RAP pgs 537-540). In other words, the reason for removing most of the wetlands and surrounding habitat appears to be simply to provide clean cover soil over the areas of treatment. None of the proposed remedial actions provide for preservation of any of the viable wetland habitat. The following Remedial Actions Alternatives should, at the very least, be evaluated: A. Sourcing the clean cover soil entirely from off site to eliminate the need to excavate on site soil from Borrow Areas and other non-contaminated areas. B. Identify and assess preservation of regions of the wetland habitat where feasible, such as the WTP Remainder area, and source a portion of the clean cover soil from off site to make up the difference. C. In all Remedial Action Alternatives, minimize the impact by removal of surface vegetation in incremental steps until cover soil needs are met, concentrating on deeper soil areas and minimizing biological impacts. Since not all of the designated areas may be needed, this would reduce the impact. Finish grading can be modified to accommodate this approach. 3. No evaluations of the impacts based upon the City of Grass Valley’s Land Use Designations, Zoning, Development Code, or Public Works plans were provided. The site is within the Sphere of Influence of the City of Grass Valley, slated for “Near Term Annexation”, and adjacent to the City on three sides. The DTSC should evaluate the project with respect to the following City issues: a. City of Grass Valley and LAFCo have the property designated as Business Park (BMP) and Urban Medium Density (UMD). Some analysis of this impact should be provided. In particular, some effort to not artificially constrain the potential best uses of the land should be made. For example, according to the RAP, a large portion of the 56 acre site is currently suitable for "unrestricted use". With the exception of a few hot spots, this includes much of the southern and western portions of the 56 acres. The RAP should aim to delineate between the areas which are suitable for unrestricted use, and those that are not, and it should plan to designate those areas in a such a way as to avoid unnecessarily limiting the potential uses of the entire parcel. For example, the southern portion of the Encapsulated Mine Waste falls within an area designated for UMD land use. Why not modify the encapsulated area slightly to avoid limiting that future intended use? A justification for not doing this should be provided. b. The analysis of “Aesthetics” for the project did not consider the City’s standards. However, it is the City that is surrounding much of the property and being directly impacted. The Aesthetics should consider the impacts to the City by City standards in addition to County standards. c. Similarly, analysis of noise standards should be based on the City’s standards in addition to County standards. d. Impacts on City infrastructure should be evaluated. For example: Does the proposed location of the Encapsulated Mine Waste impact potential Centennial Drive realignment plans, utility service line plans, and drainage plans? Will the plans for encapsulation fully allow for the City to realign the Springhill/Centennial intersection? The City may wish to evaluate the grade and location of the capped materials, recognizing possible conflicts of the encapsulated materials with the need for road development, utility trenches, pole placement, etc. in the future. e. How does the proposed plan impact the Wolf Creek trail project? 4. The RAP is apparently based upon the presumption that the parcel will ultimately be used entirely for dumping mine waste, followed by Industrial development. The current owner, Rise Gold clearly plans to use the site for dumping mine waste. However, there is no assurance that the mine will be approved, or that the plans for dumping on the Centennial site will be a part of the mine project if it is approved. If the RAP is intended to prepare the site for dumping of mine waste rock and tailings from the proposed Idaho-Maryland Mine, then this RAP should be incorporated in the Mine project application and Environmental Impact Report rather than treated separately. Otherwise, the cumulative impacts of the Mine project will not be adequately evaluated. But in any case, alternatives for cleaning up the site in the event that the mine is not approved must be provided. 5. The location of the encapsulated material creates potential problems for long term stability a. There exists a culvert under the built up gravel road berm on the east boundary that drains from the legacy pond to the East. The plan is to extend that culvert under the encapsulated material. It includes a transition from the existing box culvert to a round culvert, and a sharp bend in the planned culvert. This seems like a bad approach that is prone to failure in the future. b. The hydrological transmissivity of the built-up gravel road berm along the east boundary needs to be assessed. Horizontal water migration from the pond that is to the east may compromise the encapsulation, cause leaching of the encapsulated materials. Was the berm tested for transmissivity? 6. Impacts to a seasonal creek flowing from North-West property corner are not evaluated. The “Existing Drainage Culvert” system shown on RAP Figures 5, 6, and Sheets E1, E2, E3 is discontinuous and has not functioned correctly for many years. Currently, most of the Centennial site drains from the Northwest corner of the site into the Historical Drain Towers and through a culvert. But it then discharges to the surface at the North side of the paved Di Martini access road. A portion of the original drainage system, an old, damaged 4 ft. culvert, lies across a gap, about 4 feet away from the outlet. As a result, from this point, the creek runs on the surface approximately 75 feet to Wolf Creek. This seasonal creek also appears to support two small wetlands. During high water, a small fraction of the flow does enter the 4 ft. culvert and discharge to the point designated as the “Surface Water Discharge Point” on the plans, but it functions only as a partial discharge point during high flows. The proposed uniform grading would dry up this creek and wetlands, and impact riparian habitat. This needs to be evaluated. 7. Further assessment needed at the Hap Warnke site Mercury was listed as a Constituent of Potential Ecological Concern (COPEC) at the Hap Warnke Lumber Mill (HWLM) site. Considering that the site will be ideal for future development, existing degraded paved surfaces should not be considered as sufficient long term protection from exposure or mobilization. 8. Public Records were not made available Despite a Public Records Request submitted by CEA Foundation for access to all public documents relating to the Centennial project, many documents were not made available for review. These include supporting technical studies such as the Asbestos Dust Mitigation Plan, technical comments that were submitted regarding the Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA), and relevant facts that were provided regarding City of Grass Valley Land Use designations. 9. Avoid wetland mitigations by off site wetland creation or restoration Wetland mitigations by off site wetland creation or restoration is a poor substitute for preserving wetlands on site and avoiding the elimination of valuable habitat. If off site mitigations are utilized, they should be fully evaluated and should be at least a 2:1 replacement. A map that shows the areas of disturbance should include the biological features. In particular, protection areas for wetlands and special species habitat such as the Pine Hill Flannelbush should be clearly delineated on the map which shows disturbance areas. 10. Additional information for inclusion in the RAP Rise Grass Valley is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rise Gold Corporation, a Canadian based corporation with main offices in Vancouver, BC, but registered in Nevada. Provide a clear delineation of which portions of the 56 acre site will be protected from disturbances Cement used in Encapsulation Areas for stabilization should be certified as free of hexavalent chromium. The statement “Nevada Irrigation District (NID) uses Wolf Creek downstream of the site as a waterway to transfer water between its canals and water distribution system.” is not correct.” (RAP pg 9) The NID canal water enters Wolf Creek above the site, near Sutton Rd, and increases the flow along the site during the periods of conveyance. This information was provided previously in PEA comments. Thank you for your consideration of these points, On behalf of the CEA Foundation Board of Directors Ralph Silberstein, President CEA Foundation

View All

Pages (26)

  • Stop The Idaho-Maryland Mine | MineWatch Nevada County

    Sign the Petition! Mining is our Past. Not Our Future. Join Us Protect our air, water, and quality of life. Rise Gold, a junior mining company with a questionable history, wants to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley, CA. why stop the mine? Residents and businesses from all walks of life know that p utting a toxic business in the middle of our beautiful community today is a really bad idea. Our Nevada County Supervisors will vote on the proposal as early as 2022. ​ Here are our 8 top reasons . -Mahatma Ghandi Risks our Health untrust worthy Pollutes our Air HURTS LOCALS Drains our Water WRECKS NEIGHBORHOODS Devours our Power dumps mine waste Watch the Presentation Learn More "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed." ...and erases our goals to curb climate change! Act NOW! Send Your Comments to The County Supervisors The Board meets twice a month. Your written or spoken comments can make a huge difference. Show Your Support! Email us to get a free pin Email us to get a yard sign ($10 suggested donation) Get involved! ​ eNews Join the group Follow and share Join the group Follow and share Get the full kit Donate Your tax-deductible donation helps with research, community education, and legal fees. MineWatch sponsor, CEA Foundation, has hired the respected law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger, to assist with this effort. FEATURED news READY TO LEARN MORE? BROWSE our library. Rise Gold Investors Beware: Idaho-Maryland Mine Unlikely Before 2034 Investors often think gold is a safer choice, but even if the stars align, it's unlikely Rise Gold could process their first ounce before... Energy ROI: We Can Do Better - Martin Webb KVMR radio host Martin Webb explains how just about any other industry could provide a greater return on investment to our community. And... Idaho-Maryland Mine Mineral Rights Map Wondering where the Mine is located? Are the mineral rights under your feet? Check out these three helpful maps. The mine would be... No State Monitor for Mine How will Rise Gold be held accountable for water discharge quality if the mine opens? Well...they'll self-test and write their own... Cleanup Plan for the Centennial Site Once again, Rise Gold’s attempts to greenwash a bad project have been revealed. They’re pitching the Centennial Site cleanup as a benefit... Josie Crawford: Forever issues plague mines If the world's largest mining company with strong ties to Grass Valley hasn't cleaned up its legacy mining problems, what makes us think... Darrell Berkheimer: Mine Snow Job Fails This Union columnist roasts Rise Gold's survey as a failure. "Residents here are well educated, well informed and not easily fooled."... Randall J. Newsome: Rise Gold, show me the money Based on Rise Gold's latest quarterly SEC filing in June 2021 and the status of their outstanding loan, former U.S. Bankruptcy judge... become a minewatcher Sign up for our newsletter to get updates and monthly meeting invitations. Subscribe

  • Wrecks our Neighborhoods |

    wrecks our neighborhoods 100 truck trips/day The peace and quiet that brought homeowners to this beautiful area will be shattered. Constant truck traffic, vibration, and noise from blasting and heavy equipment operations will become the new normal. ​ Understand the impact Running an industrial mining operation in the middle of a rural neighborhood has its consequences. The people who will be hardest hit are the residents and businesses in the Brunswick area, but Rise Gold's mineral rights extend far beyond that, so the area of impact would be quite large. ​ Rise Gold is fond of talking about all the measures they're taking to contain sound levels inside the plant, but there's a lot more outside that they're not talking about. This is still going to be an industrial mining operation. ​ HELP US EDUCATE OTHERS Here are some key concerns. An unsightly processing plant up to 122,000 square feet. New truck traffic -- up to 100 round trips a day, 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. Constant construction noise for the first year and half. Grading and rock compacting to create engineered fill - 5 days a week for 11 years. Noise from compacting, excavating, and grading engineered fill piles up to 7 stories tall. Noise and vibration from underground blasting and drilling. Rezoning is required in order to get the mining operation approved, raising the allowable limits on a variety of measures, including noise and traffic. Listen to a talk about neighborhood impacts from a CEA Foundation community meeting. Map of Idaho-Maryland Mine. Have you searched for 'neighborhood' in our library? become a minewatcher Join our newsletter for updates and monthly meeting invitations. Subscribe

  • Take Action |

    Act NOW! 1. Sign the Petition! 2. 3. 4. Send Your Comments to The Board of Supervisors The Board meets twice a month. Your written or spoken comments make a huge difference. Double your impact by commenting to the Grass Valley City Council too. Learn how. ​ Get involved! eNews Join the group Follow and share Join the group Follow and share Get the full kit Show Your Support! Email us to get a free pin Email us to get a yard sign ($10 suggested donation) one stop action shop Donate Donate Your donation helps with political advocacy, community education, and legal fees - including hiring the best legal experts from the highly respected environmental law firm, Shute, Mihaly, and Weinberger. Your donation goes to our sponsor, Community Environmental Advocates Foundation. thank you for your support The approval process for the mine is regulated by California's Environment Quality Act (CEQA), making the whole effort a marathon, not a sprint. Our team is watching the calendar and engaging with Nevada County Planners to keep track of the timeline. Here is our most current estimate for major milestones: July 2020 Winter 2021/2022 Spring 2022 Mid 2022 Notice of Preparation open for Community Review Draft Environmental Impact Report open for Community Review Government Review of Final Environmental Impact Report Nevada County Board of Supervisors makes a Decision understand the process Listen to CEA Foundation volunteer, Paul Schwartz, talk about CEQA and the timeline for this project. ​ Or, view Nevada County's detailed project timeline chart here . Whether you have a lot of time, or just a little, there are things you can do to help. stay in the know Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news and events, action alerts, and invitations to monthly meetings hosted by CEA Foundation. Strength in numbers makes a big impression. ​ Subscribe to eNews Join our Facebook group to connect with like-minded people Follow our Facebook page to get news you can share with others- Follow us on Instagram Join our NextDoor group Follow us on Twitter become an advocate We're on a mission to be the most vocal group at the regularly scheduled County Board of Supervisor's meetings. Your written or spoken comments can make a huge difference. ​ Learn how to comment Get links for research or sharing Get The Word Out We need to alert the community about this project. Can you reach out to neighbors digitally, set up virtual meetings, or visit local businesses? We could use your help. ​ Ask for handout materials become a minewatcher Join our newsletter for updates and monthly meeting invitations. Subscribe

View All