December 20, 2021 – This opinion piece has been adapted from a letter I recently wrote to each of the Rise Gold board of director. It is my hope that we can increase their awareness of the growing opposition to reopening of the Idaho-Maryland mine and increase their understanding of why this project would be detrimental to our community.
Dear Mr. XXX:
I have been a Grass Valley resident since 1960, leaving a few years for college. I care deeply about the health of my community and our environment. When I first learned that Rise Gold submitted a request to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine, I was most curious and somewhat alarmed. My alarm has increased over the past year and a half. I continue to learn from experts about how harmful the opening of this mine would be for our community.
Our town’s history is rooted in the gold rush of 1849 but the legacy of mining has continued to be a black mark on our environment and on the indigenous people who were nearly exterminated by the practices of the settlers and miners. The scars from hydraulic water cannons have yet to heal. Sink holes randomly appear on residential properties. Historic toxic waste sites have yet to be cleaned up. The dams on the rivers still hold unrecovered mercury.
I’ve learned that Nevada County has already experienced a devastating loss of wells due to underground tunneling by the Siskon Gold Corporation (San Juan Ridge Mine) in 1994. It intercepted two large geologic fractures which dewatered many wells and contaminated others. The result for Grizzly Hill School, a rural K-8 school in the area, is contaminated water which has required the expense of filtration ever since.
I was curious about this company, Rise Gold Inc, and what I’ve learned has been disturbing. I learned that it is a Canadian Company, is registered in the state of Nevada, and the president of the company is Mr. Benjamin Mossman. I went to visit the local office listed on the Rise Gold website, 333 Crown Point Circle, Suite 215, Grass Valley and saw no evidence of the office being occupied. Where are you Mr. Mossman?
I’ve learned that Mr. Mossman’s previous mining efforts with Banks Island Gold Ltd failed. That company began commercial production of gold at the Yellow Giant mine on Banks Island British Columbia, in January 2015. Only six months later, its operations were forced to shut down after an extensive pollution abatement order was issued by the British Columbia Minister of Environment. Why would we not be concerned that he would manage this mine in the same way?
Yet, this is the CEO of Rise Gold Inc., who the board and investors are relying upon to be informed of the industrial development in Grass Valley. Mr. Mossman’s perspective is one sided and incomplete. For example, the Nevada County survey results purporting that our county is overwhelmingly in favor of opening the Idaho-Maryland mine. I have found statements from him, on the Rise Gold website itself, full of inaccuracies and superficialities.
Next, I considered why this company chose to try and open this particular mine in Grass Valley. These are my questions:
- Was it hoped that the residents of our rural county would simply open our arms to such a heavy industrial operation just 0.6 miles from the Grass Valley city limits?
- Was it hoped that we would welcome plans for the waste rock to be trucked, dumped, and compacted at the 56-acre Centennial site, which is two miles away from the mine site and surrounded on three sides by Grass Valley city limits!?
- Was it hoped we would think this to be a good idea to create a 21 acre, 80-90-foot-tall mound on top of an existing toxic waste site?
- Was it expected that “gold fever” and promises of “lots of money coming into the economy” would keep us from recognizing the enormous cost of such theoretical gains?
- Was it hoped that this community would be too unsophisticated to realize the environmental and economic disaster this mine would have on our town? Our town’s economic base has moved beyond mining, and later logging, and now thrives on tourism with people being drawn to the natural beauty of the region, which would be destroyed by this mine so close to town.
- Was it hoped that we would all have a romantic notion of “the good old days” when mining was at the pinnacle of destruction of so much in this region?
- Was it hoped or expected that we would be too naïve to organize in opposition to reopening of the Idaho-Maryland Mine?
I wonder if Rise Gold board members and investors have any idea of the growing community opposition. There is a grass roots swell of resistance from a broad base of community members. I doubt that Mr. Mossman has shared the truth of this matter with the board of directors, as evidenced by his false assertions in the U.S/ SEC filings, much less investors. The Rise Gold website has superficial marketing “fact sheets” that say all is well. I have read the survey results that say there is “strong public support for the Idaho-Maryland Mine Project”. This is simply not true. The J. Wallin Company, who conducted the so-called survey, is a marketing concept strategist. Of course, they were able to put a spin on the survey that would serve Rise Gold, and not collect impartial data. The survey involved 500 persons, 100 in each of the county districts, of which only one district, the 3rd district of Grass Valley (where I live) is to be directly impacted by this mine. I have asked Rise Gold and J. Wallin company for a copy of the original survey results but there has been no response.
To learn what is really happening with the community opposition, I invite each of you reading this letter to explore the website https://www.minewatchnc.org/
The site has an archive of articles and dozens of letters written by members of our community. This archive provides evidence of the depth and breadth of respected community members who oppose the mine. Mr. Mossman has probably not suggested this reading to his BOD or investors. I encourage YOU to do so.
Why am I spending so much of my time and energy to write this letter and participate in opposition to this mine? I ask myself this question and deeply consider my reasons. It is my sincere hope that I can appeal to the humanity of those who hold power and influence regarding the Idaho-Maryland Mine. I want to appeal to the decision makers sense of personal responsibility for their actions. I want them to consider what is ethical and reject claims for economic reward. I want them to consider the interdependent web of all existence. I hope they will reconsider their legacy which will essentially be for all time.
It’s time to reconsider the value of gold mining and support more environmentally responsible and humanitarian use of their expertise and investment. My background is not in environmental science or economics or hydrology or anything to do with mining. My professional career has been as a Registered Nurse, OB/GYN Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife, providing health care to women and helping to bring new life into the world. I am now working to help ensure that the world these children grow up in has clean air and water and not an industrial mining complex down the street.
Martha Turner, RN, MSN, NP, CNM
Grass Valley, CA 95945