PRESS RELEASE: There’s gold in Virginia, but it won’t make you rich.

Dec 12, 2021 | Community News, Mining, Press Releases, Rights of Nature, Top Stories, Toxic Trespass | 0 comments


Haile, South Carolina industrial gold mine

For Immediate Release      


Chad Oba,, 434-806-6332
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud,, 434-979-9732

Buckingham Toxic Trespass Ordinance campaign is launched.

Buckingham residents first learned about the Canadian company, Aston Bay Holdings, doing exploratory drilling for gold in Buckingham County in June, 2020. Aston Bay references the Haile Mine in South Carolina, a sprawling, expanding 5,000 acre open pit industrial gold mine as similar to the potential for Buckingham County. They are now targeting 3 sites in Buckingham for industrial metallic mining.

Gold mining has been called the most polluting industry in the US by the EPA. Our research shows that the impacts of industrial gold mining are devastating for local communities, including depleting our water table, poisoning aquifers and waters downstream and downwind. Please see this flyer for information in brief and the Friends of Buckingham website for extensive information. 

A group of concerned residents has written a Community Bill of Rights (CBOR) that will be presented to the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors as a proposed ordinance for the County. The ordinance would protect the health, safety and general welfare of the residents and natural environment of Buckingham County in three broad ways:

  • Claims the right and responsibility to make decisions locally to protect our communities
  • Protects from the toxic trespass of industrial metallic mining
  • Prove It First! the company would first have to provide proof that at least one industrial metallic mine did not cause harm to human and natural communities. 

The Friends of Buckingham (FoB), and the Virginia Community Rights Network (VACRN) are jointly proposing the ordinance titled: “Ordinance Requiring an Assessment of the Compatibility of Metallic Mining with the Right to Freedom from Toxic Trespass.”

An online petition has been established to support this ordinance. “We call on local residents to tell the Supervisors you support the passage of this ordinance and that industrial metallic mining is not OK with you,” said Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, VACRN President.

Buckingham residents can sign and share the petition at this link:

“Gold mining would change the character of our community, and pollute our clean water and environment. This ordinance is essential to protect our people and community,” commented Harvey Shelton, Deacon Jerusalem Baptist Church, Buckingham County

Debra Branch, one of the directly impacted residents, commented, “We request the Buckingham Board of Supervisors to enact this law and do their duty to protect the health and safety of the community and the environment from the toxic harms of industrial metallic mining in Buckingham. We want them to protect us and the land and act as if they want to stick around here for generations to come.”

“Corporate profits must not take precedence over our health,” said Buckingham resident Paul Barlow, who lives only a few miles from an area that Aston Bay has been prospecting. “The right to do exploratory drilling and/or mining does not give these corporations the right to harm us or our environment.” 

Swami Dayananda, another directly impacted land owner, remarks, “The deep caring and concern that residents have for each other and their communities is the wellspring from which this effort flows, to protect ourselves, our water, air and land. This is Creation Care.”

“The allure of good paying local jobs is deceiving, as the mining companies bring in their own skilled workers,” said Kenda Hanuman, Friends of Buckingham (FoB) gold committee co-chair. “Furthermore, the promise of tax revenue is misleading as the true, devastating costs to the community include forever toxic waste dumps that are not reclaimable.”

“The impacts of commercial mining for metals are well-documented,” said FoB President Chad Oba. “ These operations threaten to contaminate the water sources of nearby and downstream communities and are a hazard to public health and the environment. Although we are very concerned about the location of new metallic mining landing anywhere in the state of Virginia, it brings us to a bigger and more urgent question: We cannot continue to develop mining while destroying the very sources that sustain all life on Earth.”

Chad Oba, President Friends of Buckingham 
Heidi Dhivya Berthoud, Secretary FoB and President VACRN  
Kenda Hanuman, Co-Chair FoB Gold Committee  
Stephanie Rinaldi, Co-Chair FoB Gold Committee

Friends of Buckingham (FoB)

Virginia Community Rights Network  (VACRN)
(434) 253-5510


Update: The Farmville Herald publishes our press release on Friday, December 10, 2021. Read here.


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