Virginia was one of the first major gold-producing states in the U.S., but it has seen only limited and intermittent gold mining activity in the last 70 years. Recent increase in gold prices and other factors have brought renewed attention to mining gold at both new and historical sites in Virginia. This report provides an evaluation of the gold deposits in Virginia, the probable modern mining techniques that could be used at such deposits, and whether existing regulations in the Commonwealth are sufficient to protect air and water quality and human health from potential impacts of gold mining activities.
The report concludes that the regulatory framework of Virginia appears to have been designed for operations like crushed stone quarrying and sand and gravel operations, not gold mining. Thus, the current regulatory framework is not adequate to address the potential impacts of commercial gold mining and lacks an adequate financial assurance system, which poses a fiscal and environmental risk to the Commonwealth. Additionally, Virginia lacks opportunities for the public to be engaged in permitting processes and a modern system for review of environmental impacts from potential gold mining projects.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. The Potential Impacts of Gold Mining in Virginia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26643.
|2 Geology and Geochemistry of Gold Occurrences in Virginia||23-46|
|3 Modern Gold Mining Operations||47-90|
|4 Potential Impacts to Health and the Environment||91-114|
|5 Virginia's Regulatory Framework||115-168|
|Appendix A: Committee Member and Staff Biographical Sketches||191-196|
|Appendix B: Disclosure of Unavoidable Conflicts of Interest||197-198|
|Appendix C: Metal Distribution and Potential for Mobilization||199-202|
|Appendix D: Valzinco Samples from Puddle||203-204|
|Appendix E: Comparison to Other Deposits||205-208|
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