The information presented below is a great place to start learning about the proposed IMM project. This information was originally published by CLAIM as a brochure. To download a PDF of this information, click here.

The Idaho-Maryland Mine Project:  What’s at Stake?

bci2Citizens Looking At Impacts of Mining

What’s coming to Our Front Yard?

  • Emgold, a Canadian junior mining company, has filed a plan to re-open the Idaho-Maryland Mine within the city limits of Grass Valley, California.
  • The main project site is within one and a half miles of downtown, a hospital, parks, trails, schools and senior centers – and is surrounded by homes and businesses on all sides.
  • The company also plans to operate a large ceramics plant on-site, to turn mine waste into marketable product using the commercially unproven Ceramext™ process.

CLAIM-GV does not believe the mine is a good fit for our community
If we do nothing and question nothing, this project could be up and running within a few years (2011/2012).  To give our community a fighting chance, ethics and economics must be openly addressed right away.

bci3A Question of Balance

In a world of finite resources, we must weigh the goals we seek against the resources we consume.

  • To make a simple gold wedding band, at least 2.8 tons of earth must be excavated.
  • Each year, the project will consume about one third of the electricity and more than all of the natural gas that PG&E provided to all of Nevada County in 2006. (__1__)
  • Every day, the project will emit more than 9 times the 'significant level' of nitrogen oxides (__2__)  – precursors to ozone –  in a community already alarmed by high ozone levels.

Toxics, Safety, & Health

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  • Sodium Cyanide, a highly toxic, rapidly acting poison, along with hydrochloric acid, lime, and other poisons will be trucked, stored, and used on-site,(__3__) with the distinct likelihood of contaminating nearby ground water and Wolf Creek.
  • Mine rock, likely containing asbestos and silica, will be crushed to dust that will spread via tires and air currents.(__4__)
  • Explosives needed for the mining operation will be stored above ground in three temporary powder magazines, until underground storage can be built.(__5__)

Water, Water, Everywhere...

  • The project will pump out the standing water from 72 miles of flooded underground mine shafts, treat it on the fly at 2,700 gallons per minute, then dump it into the  main fork and south fork of Wolf Creek.(__6__)
  • All of the currently operational modern-era mines in a recent EarthWorks study promised their communities 100% containment of treated toxins: in reality, 76% failed to perform.(__7__)

   –  But Not a Drop to Drink?

  • As a result of dewatering at the mine, there is a real risk that household water wells in the region may be impacted and may even run dry.
  • The mine company's plan to deal with affected wells is insufficient, contradictory(__8__), and only covers wells in a relatively small area – despite Nevada County's unpredictably fractured rock structure.

Our Lifestyle & Our Quality of Life

  • Around-the-clock light and noise pollution (crushing operations, truck traffic, etc.) and nighttime blasting, for 20 years or more.
  • 220 20-ton truck trips per day.(__9__)  All southbound trucks leaving the site will enter the freeway at the Idaho-Maryland / East Main roundabout, exit immediately and drive past Holiday Inn Express, then back onto the freeway between Safeway and Hennessey School.(__10__)
  • Potential clouds over Grass Valley from 6 enormous exhaust plumes at the companion Golden Bear Ceramics (GBC) factory.(__11__)

Jobs & the Economy

The Company: Emgold is the Canadian parent company of the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corporation (IMMC) and Golden Bear Ceramics.  Emgold is a “junior” mining company that has never operated a mine.(__12__)

The Value of the Promised Jobs:

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  • Mining jobs hinge on speculative economic forces like the cost of energy and fuel, the price of gold, and the fiscal strength of the parent company. 
  • Half of the projected jobs are tied to the commercially unproven ceramics plant and process,(__13__) which hasn't been operated anywhere at a large scale, and might not initially be built here.(__14__)
  • IMMC states that more than half of all jobs will likely be filled by outsiders.(__15__)

The Promise of local revenues for Grass Valley:

  • Gold Tax?  Profit Sharing?  Not here.
  • Property taxes?
    These taxes are highly dependent on the value of the mine’s gold reserves and investments.(__16__)
  • Retail sales tax?
    The bulk of the planned sales tax revenue would come from local sales of ceramics products from the commercially unproven ceramics process.
    In fact, in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, IMMC estimates that 16.8 million square feet of ceramics products per year will be sold for final retail inside Grass Valley city limits, for all 18 years of Project Phases 2 and 3.(__17__)
    That's enough for 8,400 houses every year, using 2,000 square feet of ceramics per house.
    Is this a realistic estimate?

The Loss of Grants: Mine-related violations of air and energy standards could jeopardize state and federal grants and building funds.(__18__)

Lower Property Values? This is an obvious risk not only in the vicinity of the mine, but throughout the region.

Is it prudent to steer our local economy toward  this “old-world” mining model at the risk of jeopardizing long-term employment opportunities with cleaner, high-tech industries attracted to our beautiful area — at a time in history when we are poised to launch an American Green Revolution?

Clean Money, Clean Future Or Dirty Money, Dirty Future  ???

Our community has a reputation for beauty, open space, and nature.  We’ve attracted lucrative, clean businesses with these priceless assets – they are the very reasons why many of us live here.  One of those businesses has publicly demanded that IMMC pay for an escape clause in their lease in the event that mine operations impair their operations.  Do you have an escape clause built into your job, your mortgage, your property value, your health, or your commitment to nature?

bci9

Our Community, Our Choice !
So, what will we tell our children – and their children – about the stand we made on the IMM project?

Look at the issues, look at the land, look at the children – then YOU decide.

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What People Are Saying

CLAIM sponsored an online petition where residents could voice their concerns and opposition to the mine project.   To get to the petition, click here

Over 500 people signed – and  many have left heartfelt testimonials:

The reopening of the mine would increase air pollution [and the] effects are admittedly "unmitigable". We love this community, but would have to move to protect the health of our children and ourselves.   a mother of two

I've lived in Nevada County most of my life, and plan to move back to the beautiful community when I complete my PhD here in Syracuse... but not if developments such as these are allowed to progress. Our community is special and wonderful precisely because it does NOT have such developments, and is instead peopled by environmentally awake and aware folks.   a Nevada County native deciding whether to return

I own rental housing within 1 mile of the proposed mine site and I am concerned for the health of my tenants.    a local landlord

I’ve  been involved in monitoring a number of mining  project proposals. From my reading of the EIR for the IMMC proposal, I’m convinced this mine will have severely deleterious effects on the Grass Valley community. … what actually happens when a mine opens is very different than what’s anticipated. …The Siskon Mine on the San Juan Ridge was not supposed to strike the huge water veins that it did. It was not supposed to deplete neighbors’ wells, but it did. It was not supposed to be as noisy as it was. It was not supposed to discharge millions of gallons of water into Spring and Shady creeks, but it did. It was supposed to supply a large number of jobs – which it did –  for only a year. Etc. Etc. Grass Valley and Nevada County do not need another costly mining fiasco with its negative impacts on our citizens.   a 34-year resident of Nevada County

Here we are in 2009, trying to clean up the poisons from the onslaught of the '49ers mistakes and here they come again …with their promises of "economic-prosperity". We know this means prosperity for the few, who will take the money and run, and leave the community with the dregs of another toxic clean-up job. No to Gold Mining in Grass Valley!!!   anonymous

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The facts and numbers in this brochure are just the tip of the iceberg.  To see the official project documents, including the 622-page Draft Environmental Impact Report, and the 160 individual and agency public comments on its adequacy, start your research here.

Citizens Looking At Impacts of Mining is a non-profit organization working on behalf of our community to gather information about the Idaho-Maryland Mine project and its potential risks to our well-being – the people, the environment, and the economy.

CLAIM encourages you to add your own voice and opinions to the effort.

We call our elected officials to open, honest, and courageous representation of our best interests.

Start on our home page and read about this project, look at the actual project documents, read our analyses, understand the vital facts, and learn about the numerous opportunities to help determine the future of our community. 

Show your support by making a tax-deductible donation to CLAIM. 

Consider joining our growing membership – Join Us

(1 - 18) – Data sources for this brochure are indexed by number below. Brochure published May 15, 2009


 

CLAIM-GV Brochure References

Footnote references for CLAIM's brochure published on May 15, 2009
All official project documents are available on the City of Grass Valley website at:
http://www.cityofgrassvalley.com/services/departments/cdd/IDMDMINE.php
DEIR = Draft Environmental Impact Report, published by Grass Valley's consultant on October 29, 2008
RPD = Revised Project Description, published by IMMC on May 29, 2007
'pdf p.' = page number in the referenced PDF document

 

Brochure wording

Reference source/location

1

Each year, the project will consume about one third of the electricity and more than all of the natural gas that PG&E provided to all of Nevada County in 2006.

http://www.apple-nc.org/emgold.html and DEIR Chapter 4, pp.4.15-10,11 (pdf pp.416,417); note the incorrectly calculated percentages in the DEIR

2

Every day, the project will emit more than 9 times the 'significant level' of nitrogen oxides...

This statement comes from the fact that the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD) threshold for a ‘significant’ source of nitrogen oxide is 136 pounds per day (see the ‘Significance Criteria’ section of DEIR Chapter 4, section 4.2, pp.4.2-17,18 (pdf pp.62,63)); when the mine is in full operation it is projected to emit over 1200 pounds of nitrogen oxide per day (DEIR Chapter 4, Table 4.2-6, pp.4.2-21,22 (pdf pp.66,67)), or nine times the significance threshold.

3

Sodium Cyanide, a highly toxic, rapidly acting poison, along with hydrochloric acid, lime, and other poisons will be trucked, stored, and used on-site...

DEIR Chapter 2, p.2-37 (pdf p.37); section 2.8.3 – Chemical Usage, Storage, and Handling

4

Mine rock, likely containing asbestos and silica, will be crushed to dust that will spread via tires and air currents.

DEIR Chapter 4, pp.4.2-5, 4.2-20 (pdf pp.50,65)

5

Explosives needed for the mining operation will be stored above ground in three temporary powder magazines, until underground storage can be built.

RPD Section 1, Exhibit N4, pp.N4-1,2 (pdf pp.43,44)

6

The project will pump out the standing water from 72 miles of flooded underground mine shafts, treat it on the fly at 2,700 gallons per minute, then dump it into the main fork and south fork of Wolf Creek.

DEIR Chapter 4, p.4.7-38 (pdf p.235)

7

All of the currently operational modern-era mines in a recent EarthWorks study promised their communities 100% containment of treated toxins: in reality, 76% failed to perform.

CLAIM Summary of 2006 study of water quality at modern hardrock mines

8

The mine company's plan to deal with affected wells is insufficient, contradictory, and only covers wells in a relatively small area...

DEIR Chapter 2, pp.2-42-52 (pdf pp.42-42) – discussion of Applicant Proposed Measures (APMs) regarding domestic wells; compare APM 10 (pp.47,48: pipeline construction will not start until dewatering is confirmed) to Mitigation Measure 4.7-3b (DEIR Chapter 4, p. 4.7-37 (pdf p.234): dewatered customers will be connected to NID within 14 days)

9

220 20-ton truck trips per day

DEIR Chapter 4, p.4.13-18 (pdf p.366) table 4.13-8 states 220 daily trips;  RPD Section 3, p.3-26,27,29 (pdf p.30,31,33) states 150 daily trips without aggregate sales, 218 with aggregate sales; RPD Section 3, p. 3-28 (pdf p.32) describes the truck sizes: 40-ton trucks for ceramics, and 20-ton trucks for aggregate

10

All southbound trucks leaving the site will enter the freeway at the Idaho-Maryland / East Main roundabout, exit immediately and drive past Holiday Inn Express, then back onto the freeway between Safeway and Hennessey School.

DEIR Chapter 4, p.4.13-37 (pdf p.385)

11

Potential clouds over Grass Valley from 6 enormous exhaust plumes at the companion Golden Bear Ceramics (GBC) factory.

DEIR Appendix B 'Air Quality', 'Idaho Maryland Mine Project Health Risk Assessment' p. 4 (pdf p.90):  "Ceramic plant kilns were modeled as 6 point sources … 10 inches in diameter. The exit temperature was assumed to be 700 degrees Celsius and the flow rate was assumed to be 4,400 cubic feet per minute per stack." [Note: this equates to an exhaust exit speed of 91 miles per hour for each stack]

12

Emgold is the Canadian parent company of the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corporation (IMMC) and Golden Bear Ceramics.  Emgold is a “junior” mining company that has never operated a mine.

http://www.emgold.com; http://www.idaho-maryland.com; http://www.goldenbearceramics.com

13

Half of the projected jobs are tied to the commercially unproven ceramics plant and process...

DEIR Chapter 2, p.2-39 (pdf p.39)

14

...which hasn't been operated anywhere at a large scale, and might not initially be built here.

“Mine lays off ceramic workers”, Aug. 2, 2007, The Union (www.theunion.com): the “first commercial ceramics plant ... will open in another area where environmental reviews are not on the table” and “The plan is to build a production plant here, but Golden Bear [Ceramics] can start elsewhere right away”.

15

...more than half of all jobs will likely be filled by outsiders

DEIR Appendix H 'Economic and Fiscal Analysis', pp.5-6 (pdf pp. 9-10), including Table 2

16

These [property] taxes are highly dependent on the value of the mine’s gold reserves and investments.

DEIR Appendix H 'Economic and Fiscal Analysis', p.26 (pdf p.30)

17

IMMC estimates that 16.8 million square feet of ceramics products per year will be sold for final retail inside Grass Valley city limits, for all 18 years of Project Phases 2 and 3.

DEIR Appendix H 'Economic and Fiscal Analysis', Table A6, p.2 (pdf p.48) – first table on the page, and the note beneath it “Rough assumption provided by Dave Watkinson, IMMC.”

18

Mine-related violations of air and energy standards could jeopardize state and federal grants and building funds.

DEIR Chapter 4, p.4.2-8 (pdf p.53): “Failure to submit an approvable SIP or to implement the plan within mandated timeframes can result in sanctions being applied to transportation funding and stationary air pollution sources in the air basin.”

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