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.
Steve Emerman, PhD,
Virginians! If you're not outraged, you ain't woke! Together we are strong! We must assert our rights to clean water, air, land!
Malach Consulting; Specializing in Ground Water and Mining. Biophysicist, international consultant - from Madagascar to Northern Ireland; Colorado to Nova Scotia.