The truth about the 2nd Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Idaho Maryland Mine Reopening

The “article” in the Union (http://www.theunion.com/article/20090827/NEWS/908269966) about the re-write and re-submission of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Idaho Maryland Mine reopening is completely misleading about the actual situation. 

Here are some key statements from this “article” (more like PR piece from Emgold) and the corresponding reality statements. 

Assertion1:  “ Representatives of the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp. are preparing to revise a draft environmental impact report to better reflect their plans for de-watering mine shafts and cleaning up environmentally sensitive areas around the proposed mine.”

Reality1:  The DEIR was written by ESA, a consultant to the City of Grass Valley.  ESA’s fee was paid by Emgold, with detail information on the project provided by Emgold.  The first DEIR was deemed inadequate by numerous California State agencies, Nevada County, and dozens of citizens and citizen groups, especially in areas such as:  air pollution (including ozone, dust, asbestos, and diesel) ,  traffic, habitat destruction, loss of wells, water pollution, and safety.  The City, as lead agency, made the decision to redo the DEIR based on the comments received and likely in consultation with ESA, Emgold, and City legal advisors.  The DEIR has to be significantly re-written and will hopefully address all of the issues which were either ignored or glossed over in the first try. 

Assertion2:  ““It's an extra step that we've added,” he(David Watkinson) said. “We're trying to be responsible and give everyone a chance to comment before we move on.””

Reality2:  This was not voluntary in the slightest.  This process is mandated by a California law called the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The first try at the DEIR, as indicated by 85% of the comments received by the City, was wholly inadequate.  While not unprecedented, it is not normal for a second DEIR to have to be submitted for another round of public comment.  These public comment periods are also mandated by CEQA and not voluntary on the part of Emgold.    

Total Error:  “The company plans to produce 2,400 tons of gold a day when the mine opens, in addition to ceramic tiles and aggregate rock, Watkinson said.”

Reality3:  The company will raise 2400 tons of rock per day to the surface (in phase 3 of the project, many more than 2 years away).  About 4 tons of rock MAY yield an ounce of gold after extraction using cyanide.  (I doubt that Watkinson said 2400 tons of gold a day ,even he knows better,  this is likely a Union error but still needs to be clarified). 

The citizens of Grass Valley and Nevada County deserve better.  Emgold spouts lots of platitudes, which cost nothing.  But when it comes to actually putting any resources (hard cash) into protecting our citizens, even in the earliest stages, the company shows their true colors.  How can we expect anything better in DEIR #2 or in the worst case, if this mega-project actually proceeds.  The only reason the DEIR is being revised now is that it would not have passed any sort of oversight.  It is not out of the goodness of Emgold’s heart.  If we continue down this path, remember how Emgold has acted so far and how much our health and our children’s health will depend on them actually being responsible corporate immigrants (I would have said citizens but they are not a US corporation).   If Emgold cannot ensure that a good job of analysis is done now, (by paying for a good job) how can we trust them to do good for our community in the future.  Platitudes mean nothing.  Actual results are what counts and so far Emgold has failed miserably.