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Company plans to reopen historic Nevada County gold mine despite backlash from locals

Rise Gold Corp. is working hard to try and reopen a gold rush-era mine in Grass Valley, but not all residents are on board.

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. — A long time ago, Grass Valley was the place to be when it came to people looking for gold. Now, one company is hoping to make that a reality again, but their efforts are getting some pushback from locals in town.

Rise Gold Corporation bought the Idaho Maryland Mine in Grass Valley back in 2017 with the intention of reopening it. Company CEO Ben Mossman believes there's still a lot of gold left in the mine after it closed for good in the 1950s.

Soon after the company acquired the mine, Mossman's team dug below and found gold still left in the minerals they pulled from the mine. Because of that, Mossman put in a request with the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to allow them to reopen the mine.

With gold costing more than $2,000 an ounce, Mossman believes there could be a big potential to expand business at the mine. He also believes it will revitalize Grass Valley and bring in more revenue to the area, all while creating more jobs.

"The people that have the jobs, want the jobs, they're already a part of the community. I think that's the main difference is that it's already a part of the community. The mine itself has been here since the county was formed," said Mossman.

County officials did release a final environmental impact report that said reopening the mine would cause minimal impacts on the water, air and noise in the surrounding area. Rise Gold said this will be the most environmentally friendly mine.

However, Christy Hubbard, a volunteer with Minewatch Nevada County, said she doesn't buy the report. Minewatch is an organization dedicated to making sure the county doesn't allow Rise Gold to reopen the mine.

Hubbard said she has a hard time believing Rise Gold's intentions are for the greater good of Grass Valley.

"Ben, we're not fooled by your advertising claims. There really is no such thing as green mining," she said.

Hubbard said there are many people within Grass Valley who also oppose the mine's reopening. Signs saying 'No Mine' are posted in front of homes, businesses and also along the side of roads.

A meeting was held Wednesday with many people signed up to speak. County staff says the meeting will be extended into Thursday.

The decision is ultimately in the hands of the board of supervisors and will happen no later than August.

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