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Dear  <<First Name>>,


Spring is in the air. Gold mining is on our minds and hearts.

Update: HB2213, the gold mining study and moratorium bill sponsored by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman is now on Governor Northam's desk and we expect he will sign it. The House cut the study back from 2 years to one. The Senate extracted the 2 year moratorium. We are left with a one year study. We'll take it.

Buckingham County legalized the illegal exploratory drilling that was happening in the Warminster neighborhood for the last 4 years, unnoticed until June 2020. 

What happens here in Buckingham, could happen to all communities downstream and downwind from potential gold mining sites along the extensive gold-pyrite belt. Where do you live? Check out these 4 maps.

We anticipate the need for a Virginia state-wide wake up call. In the public interest, we are co-hosting with the Virginia League of Conservation Voters (VALCV) this Webinar:

How Virginia’s Gold Could Harm Your Community

Gold mining webinar Thursday March 18, 6-7 pm.
Please register here.

You will hear from impacted Buckingham community residents, Delegate Guzman and biophysicist Steve Emerman. Check out the next article about Steve, and stark scary facts about mining. And the 2 videos on a Brazilian mine waste dam failure. Oh my...

Join us! Power concedes nothing without a demand. As a community we must claim our inalienable rights to clean water, air, land.

Heidi Dhivya Berthoud
Secretary Friends of Buckingham

Brumadinho (Brasil) Dam Collapse 2019
During and after collapse footages 

3 minute video 

Richmond? Arlington? Chesapeake Bay?

How Virginia’s Gold Could Harm Your Community

Gold mining webinar Thursday March 18, 6-7 pm.
Please register here.


Steve Emerman, our expert guest, will talk to us about the cold facts of polymetallic mining:
 
Gold Mines build earthen dams to contain the highly toxic tailings (mine waste).  These dams will remain in existence forever and have to be meticulously built and maintained. This rarely happens as the companies responsible often dissolve and we and our planet are left with a source of highly toxic pollution that will remain forever.
 
A typical gold ore grade is 1 gram per ton. This means that 99.9999% of the ore body is converted into tailings, which are the crushed rock particles that remain after the mineral(s) of interest has been removed. These tailings must be permanently stored on the surface behind a tailings dam. 
 
Any civil engineering structure must be maintained or it will eventually fail. Can you think of any exception? For example, if a water-retention dam can longer be maintained, it must be dismantled. A dam can simply be abandoned or it will fail at an unpredictable time with unpredictable consequences.
 
A mine waste dam cannot be dismantled because it must confine the toxic mine tailings in perpetuity. But does any mining company have the financial and institutional capacity to maintain a tailings dam in perpetuity? Especially a junior mining company?
 
All of this means that any tailings dam will eventually fail and the toxic tailings will eventually be released into the environment. Because our regulatory oversight is so weak, we the taxpayer get stuck holding the bill. AKA externalized costs, which are not factored into the cost of doing business in Virginia:
  • to maintain the dam,
  • live with the consequences of air borne toxic ore dust,
  • intensive draw down & poisoning of our aquifers, and
  • the imminent threat of dam failures, which are 100% by age 100 years. 

Virginians! If you're not outraged, you ain't woke! Together we are strong! We must assert our rights to clean water, air, land!

Steve Emerman, PhD, Malach Consulting; Specializing in Ground Water and Mining.  Biophysicist, international consultant - from Madagascar to Northern Ireland; Colorado to Nova Scotia.

Brumadinho dam collapse
BBC News
23 minute video


On 25 January 2019, a dam at an iron ore mine in Brumadinho collapsed. It caused a huge landslide that buried everything in its path. More than 300 people were killed or are still missing.

Vale – which owns the mine - is the world’s biggest producer of iron ore. It was the second mining disaster in the region since 2015, when a nearby dam co-owned by Vale also collapsed. Vale says the Brumadinho dam was assessed as safe by inspections over the years.

Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse went to Brazil in March, as bodies were still being pulled from the mud. He found a story not just about an industrial accident, but about a system of economic development and a way of life built upon the ever increasing extraction of finite natural resources.
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