SYRCL Opposes Idaho-Maryland Mine

In November 2019, Rise Gold submitted a project description to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine with the hope of extracting gold on the 119-acre New Brunswick site.  

SYRCL has been researching the project since 2019. Earlier this year, SYRCL’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to oppose the reopening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine.  

Shortly after, on July 28, 2021, SYRCL joined ten other local and regional environmental organizations in signing a letter to Mr. Patrick Pulupa, the Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, to express deep concern over the impacts reopening the mine could have on water quality and flows.

Pictured above: Residents of Nevada County gathered to protest the Idaho-Maryland Mine. Photos courtesy of MineWatch

Why Does SYRCL Oppose the Mine?

SYRCL officially opposes the mine due to the significant potential environmental impacts that would occur as a result of the proposed mining operations. We are concerned that, should the Idaho-Maryland Mine reopen, mining operations would introduce pollution into our waterways, dewater groundwater, and dry up private wells that are already being adversely impacted by long periods of drought. Further, legacy mining impacts include serious health impacts for community members who may be exposed to heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury.

Further health impacts due to the massive increase in greenhouse gases that will degrade local air quality are also of concern, especially in an area that already coping with poor air quality during extended fire seasons. Mining operations, which include heavy equipment and large trucks, are slated to occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week and produce 9,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.  

Pictured above: Idaho-Maryland Mine Mineral Right Map. Photo courtesy of  cea-nc.org

In addition to these environmental impacts, SYRCL is also concerned about the effects the reopening could have on our community culture as well as tourism. In addition to posing a threat to the Nisenan Tribe’s tribal and cultural resources, the 1,500 tons of waste rock and tailings removed from the mine daily will degrade the environment. This scar on the earth also functions in direct contrast to Grass Valley and Nevada City’s focus on environmental awareness and sustainable agriculture. 

Power use is another a concern. The permit application estimates mining operations will use 42.75 million Kilowatt-Hours per year (roughly equivalent to adding 5,000 households).

The Cost to the Community

The potential disruptions to the environment and culture will cost the community far more than it will bring. More than 75% of the jobs it is promising to generate will likely be filled by people outside our community due to the specialized skill sets required for this type of work.  

The revenue Rise Gold will bring in from the mine is unclear. If the mine proves to be unprofitable—as it has in the past—it may be abandoned at any point, leaving the County and our community with the environmental and social ramifications and no funds to devote to any necessary cleanup efforts.

SYRCL’s opposes the mine because of the potential damage to communities as well as the environment. 

How to Get Involved

You can get more involved in efforts to oppose the Idaho-Maryland Mine by visiting MineWatchNC.org, where you can sign up for newsletters or sign the petition to tell the Nevada County Board of Supervisors you want to stop the Idaho-Maryland Mine.

If you want to send comments to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, you can email them at bdofsupervisors@co.nevada.ca.us. You can also submit your comments to be read out loud at bi-weekly Board of Supervisor meetings by visiting https://www.minewatchnc.org/post/comment-at-board-of-supervisors-meetings