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"It's a bad idea": Plans to reopen Nevada County gold mine sparks controversy

Plans to reopen Nevada County gold mine sparks controversy
Plans to reopen Nevada County gold mine sparks controversy 02:42

NEVADA CITY — Plans to tap into California's rich history of gold have sparked a fiery debate.

The Idaho-Maryland Mine has sat empty since the 1950s in Grass Valley. At the heart of a Nevada County Planning Commission public hearing: should the mine's gates reopen?

Depends on who you ask. 

"Ridiculous, we don't need it," Kurt Paul said.

Rise Gold Corp. is making the push to restore the site to its former days, but with a modern twist.

"I believe that our project meets the high-environmental standards and values of Nevada County," said CEO Ben Mossman during public comments Wednesday.

The corporation bought the mine in 2017. After the release of a draft environmental impact report, more than 300 people were expected to speak at the hearing, according to county officials.

Rise Gold Corp. touts a boost in tax revenue and job creation, but critics say the costs are too steep.

"For a few lousy jobs, there are no local hard rock miners. Who are the jobs going to go to? Someplace else," said Janet Cinquegrana, a Grass Valley resident.

Outside the public hearing, there are signs in Grass Valley and Nevada City opposing the mine.

"It's a bad idea," Scott Stewart said. "It's a limited thing. It's going to cause environmental issues."

The company believes years of examining the environmental effects will be on its side.

"They have concluded that there are no significant impacts to either air quality, water, groundwater — and that is the county's own document," said Jarryd Gonzales, a company spokesperson.

The planning commissioners will need to submit their recommendations to the board of supervisors, which will hold its own public hearings.

If the project is approved, critics say the mine will directly counter the county's energy action plan.

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