The best news I have had today is that somebody is trying to reopen a mine in California. I have traveled often through the area and was talking to a friend who lives in Grass Valley. He brought this property to my attention. My reasons for going to the area so often in the past was to work on issues associated with the old gold mines that made the area what it is today—a most pleasant, sustained place.

I refer to the Idaho-Maryland Gold Mine. This website and the site of the parent company, EMGOLD Mining Corporation, a Vancouver-based exploration and mining company, is full of fascinating documents relating to the history of the mine, once the second largest underground mine in California, and the travails of a company seeking to reopen the mine.

The most succinct summary I found is the Executive Summary of the application for an Exploration and Mining Use permit. In brief, they propose to dewater the existing underground workings, restart development, and process the tailings into ceramic products.

As you would expect, there is opposition. For as (?anti-?) flag-waving a piece as any see this link. Did the writer know that the place was a mine until not that long ago? And somehow the argument that re-opening a mine will exacerbate global warming—that is not what I would call dialogue. I am for an open and frank discussion of issues. I would ask that before you rush to judgment, however, you take a look at a powerpoint presentation. See also the Environmental Assessment for details.

Reminds me of a recent dinner discussion. My hostess had just bought a $20,000 piece of land in Costa Rica. Her elder daughter and her husband, a native Costa Rican, have just bought a $15,000 piece of land besides his father’s farm. Her second daughter is going down next year to look around. Innocently, I remarked that the elder daughter who works for an internationally renowned consulting company could settle in the house they plan to build and introduce her current company to the country and be their local representative.

This set of a storm of protest, including accusations of Canadian imperialism, putting locals out of work, and ignoring local practices. My reply is simple: when her consultant elder daughter can provide me with a report in English certifying that neither of the planned new houses would detrimentally affect groundwater on and downgradient of the property from their septic tanks, then I would pay for the next dinner. I choose a Canadian whose judgment I respect to tell me if planned development will have detrimental impacts. I do not care what local resources she uses—I am sure she will need to. I have not asked for a socio-economic impact evaluation of rich Canadians seeking utopia and thereby driving property prices so high that the local cannot afford their own land. I suspect such a study would reveal both depressing and optimistic results. I suspect it would show that there would be more openings for locals in the service industries; but is that want they want as a substitute for farming their own land.

My friend from Grass Valley is a structural engineer. He welcomes the Idaho-Maryland mine, for no doubt it will add to his list of clients building large second homes in the area. Surely there is an architect and a civil engineer in Costa Rica standing by ready to do the same for my rich Canadian friends as they build their second homes in an even more exotic locale.