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Grass roots organizers fight plans to mine for gold in Buckingham County

Aug 26, 2022 | Community News, Metallic Mining, News, Top Stories | 0 comments

Before prospectors found gold in California, many of them were digging here in Virginia.

“This was front and center for gold mining back in the 1800’s and in Buckingham alone there are over 70 abandoned mines all full of mercury,” says community organizer Heidi Dhivya Berthoud.

She explains that mercury or cyanide must be used to process gold – posing the risk of polluting the James River, and just digging out the ore could be hazardous to area residents.

“Once you start digging into the earth you encounter naturally-occurring heavy metals and radioactive material – exposing it to the air, to the water and you’re drawing down the water table for miles around. It is a huge problem,” Berthoud says.

So she and Mindy Zlotnick helped organize a campaign to prevent mining for metals in their county.

Read more and listen here. Thanks to Sandy Hausman for your coverage!

RADIO IQ | By Sandy Hausman

Published August 23, 2022 at 2:28 PM EDT

Also by Sandy Hausman, early in the gold mining campaign:

Buckingham Poised to Battle a Gold Rush

Residents of Buckingham County spent six years fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Now that it’s been canceled, residents are facing a new challenge.

Buckingham sits at the center of the state – a county of about 17,000 people.  Its main product is timber, but as early as 1832 prospectors were finding gold here – part of a vein that runs from South Carolina to Nova Scotia. 

Soon after winning a battle to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, residents Chad Oba and Kenda Hanuman discovered gold fever was back.

“Aston Bay Holdings out of Canada was really promoting the fact that they had a wonderful find in Buckingham, that there was very little interference for them here, that there were no regulations for them to really worry about,” says Hanuman. “They had been drilling holes and finding gold, and there are other minerals [and metals]  – cobalt and copper and lead.” 

Read more and listen here.

RADIO IQ | By Sandy Hausman

Published October 9, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT


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