New coalition aims to pause permitting on some mining operations in Virginia

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - A newly formed coalition is turning its attention to mining in the Commonwealth, fearing what they say are the potential effects on drinking water.

During a virtual press conference Monday, members of the Press Pause VA Coalition said they’re focused on slowing the permitting process for copper, lead and zinc mining.

Stephanie Rinaldi, Coalition Coordinator, said exploratory mining companies like Aston Bay are already drilling for those metals in areas like Pittsylvania County.

Rinaldi said Press Pause VA hopes their efforts bring attention to the potential effects of mining those metals, much like similar efforts made by the General Assembly to study the effect of gold mining.

”While we are very appreciative that Virginia is studying the effects of gold and while we believe that we should also be looking into the effects of these other metals are they are mined,” Rinaldi said, “we really want to focus on pausing the permitting so we can do that due diligence.”

Delegate Shelly Simons also provided a video message for the press conference, saying she would be carrying legislation to analyze regulation of copper, zinc and lead mining in Virginia.

That study on gold mining approved by the General Assembly earlier this year starts Wednesday. It’s expected to last one year.

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