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Idaho Maryland Mine Project Application Cancelled by Grass Valley  NEW The Emgold Mining Co. has failed to meet the deadline of Sept 10, 2012 for submitting the necessary funds to the City of Grass Valley. The City has canceled the permit application for Emgold's flagship project, the Idaho-Maryland Mine. This action followed from a decision by the City Council on March 13, 2012 to set a final time limit of 180 days to deposit the funds. CLAIM was instrumental in getting this time limit imposed. The financial deposit was for independent consultants to begin preparation of a revised Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the proposed mine and ceramics factory. An estimated total of $3-4 million would be needed to finance and execute the DEIR, additional studies, another round of public hearings, and a Final Environmental Impact Report before obtaining a permit.

Community Efforts Made the Difference  It was the efforts of our many supporters – analyzing the project, submitting comments, speaking at public hearings, volunteering time for outreach, helping with our booth, assisting financially, and helping in many other ways - that made this happen. We were able to keep constant pressure on the mine and to bring the true issues to the forefront. Without this effort, the Draft Environmental Impact Report that was submitted in late 2008 may very well have led directly to the Final EIR and an approved permit in 2009. Click here to access the DEIR comments. Thank you all!

What's Next?  While the action by the City is a significant victory for our community, the main obstacle preventing Emgold from proceeding is a lack of funds. Therefore, we should anticipate that Emgold will eventually secure financing and re-submit their plans. The review process would then start all over again and probably move forward more quickly, perhaps skipping the scoping hearings. Meanwhile, Emgold has made every effort to minimize this setback. (Read Emgold's version of “reality”)

We encourage you all to weigh in now, give a resounding “No!” to the mine by letting your voice be heard in the local media and send Emgold Mining Co. back to Canada permanently!

The Project:  In 2006, Emgold, a Canadian junior mining company that has never actually operated a gold mine, filed a plan to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine (IMM) within the city limits of Grass Valley, California, and to also build and operate a ceramics factory using mine waste as feedstock and / or crush mine waste rock and sell it as aggregate all within 1 mile of downtown Grass Valley and surrounded by schools, medical facilities, homes and businesses on all sides. Click here for the details.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for this project was released in late 2008 and in 2009, due to the overwhelming feedback on the inadequacy of the DEIR, the project stalled as Emgold ran out of funding. 

Finally, in late April 2011, Emgold submitted the required revised project description documents to the City of Grass Valley, the lead agency for this project, and the City reviewed them and accepted them. CLAIM-GV has posted a copy of these documents on this site. Click this link to go to the Revised Project Documents page.

Subsequently, when the Revised DEIR was ready for preparation, Emgold failed to come up with the required funding and the project was cancelled by the City.

Read the latest news on the Idaho Maryland Mine on the Mine Talk blog.

Idaho Maryland Mine Site Map Small Click map for larger image.

Our Take:  CLAIM-GV has carefully and completely evaluated the plan, in its current state, and we do NOT believe this project is a good idea for Grass Valley or Nevada County.  Find out why here on our website.

Location:  Grass Valley is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills and is home to numerous technology companies with a specialization in video centered on Grass Valley Group which was founded here in 1959.  The area was populated in the 1850’s during the California Gold Rush and it was home to several large mines for the next 100 years, until the last of the mines closed in the mid 1950’s.  Since then the high tech companies and an influx of retirees has changed the landscape and the economy.

Why This Project is Bad for Grass Valley and Nevada County:

  1. “The town has grown around the mine” since it closed and reopening a mine in the middle of a city is not a great idea. The idea of mining contributing significant economic activity as in the 30’s is bogus.  In 1936 15% of local jobs were in mining, if this mine opens there would be a maximum of 0.4% employed in mining. 
  2. Net loss of jobs vs. general plan forecast for mine site.  At best a loss of 400 jobs.  Most likely case, a net loss of over 700 jobs for local citizens. 
  3. Revenue forecast from mine for GV City extremely speculative (based primarily on selling unrealistic amounts of ceramic mine waste tile locally) and could easily result in our taxpayers subsidizing the mine’s Canadian stockholders.
  4. Emgold has never operated a mine anywhere in the world.  Why should we be the guinea pigs while they learn how to do it?  Cost to the community of one error in judgment could result in significant clean-up cost and continuing public relations issues.   Grass Valley could be left with a huge cleanup bill if this inexperienced and thinly capitalized company fails. 
  5. Speaking of Emgold, what confidence do we have in them as an organization?  What is their track record to date?  Since 2006 Gold prices have gone up by over 160% while Emgold stock has dropped by 98 %.  This is the management team we are supposed to trust with doing a good job for Grass Valley?  Since 2006 Emgold has laid off all but 1 paid employee in GV. 
  1. Ceramics plant.  From Emgold’s March 2010 quarterly report.  Quoted.  “Emgold plans to spin off this technology to a third party to allow its commercialization.”  This makes the ceramics plant promise more smoke and mirrors and reduces the job promise by 50%.    
  2. Revenue losses to local businesses could be significant as the increased traffic, noise, and smoke deter tourism.
  3. Surrounding property owners who relied on the current zoning and general plan are concerned about the impact on their property values – traffic, pollution, dewatering affecting their wells, toxic leaks, … - all impact property values and leave these property owners holding the bag, all to benefit a small group of Canadian stockholders. 
Idaho Maryland Mine Image Small
Click for a larger picture.
  1. The effect of dewatering the mine is unknown. It could easily impact wells miles away since the rock structure is not well understood and most properties were occupied after the mine was re-flooded in 1955.
  2. Job growth in 21st century occupations is stalled or forever lost to other forward thinking communities made more attractive in comparison.
  3. Retirees flee the community due to the traffic, smoke, and noise, leading to continued drops in property values for all.
  4. Last but not least, the negative impact on the surrounding community from tons of ozone, acid mine drainage, cyanide risks, noise, and traffic congestion is immeasurable.

Read more about any or all of these negative impacts.

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