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Buckingham Poised to Battle a Gold Rush


Residents of Buckingham County spent six years fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  Now that it’s been canceled, residents are facing a new challenge.

Buckingham sits at the center of the state – a county of about 17,000 people.  Its main product is timber, but as early as 1832 prospectors were finding gold here – part of a vein that runs from South Carolina to Nova Scotia. 

Soon after winning a battle to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, residents Chad Oba and Kenda Hanuman discovered gold fever was back.

“Aston Bay Holdings out of Canada was really promoting the fact that they had a wonderful find in Buckingham, that there was very little interference for them here, that there were no regulations for them to really worry about," says Hanuman. "They had been drilling holes and finding gold, and there are other minerals [and metals]  – cobalt and copper and lead.” 

Miners use toxic chemicals to remove gold from rock, and Oba says it’s a wasteful process.

Credit RadioIQ
Opponents fear an open pit mine on 11,000 acres in Buckingham County could poison surrounding land and water.

“For 99% of the waste that they create, they only get that one little bit of gold. What they’re proposing is deep pit mining.  This is serious stuff.  We would be looking at the degradation of the land and particularly the water.”

So the two are urging Buckingham residents to contact their county supervisor before a meeting this Tuesday evening.

"We know what the heck we're doing," Hanuman warns. "They're up against a formidable foe here in Buckingham."

The board will consider regulations that could prevent modern day mining in Buckingham.  

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief