The latest news on the biggest gold mine east of the Mississippi: The Army Corps of Engineers has released its final report on the proposed open-pit gold mine near Camden, SC. No real changes from its preliminary report, and Romarco Minerals is expected to get the necessary permits for operation. Like many cases of economics vs. environment, there’s plenty of fodder for arguments on both sides. Protection of Cooks Mountain in Richland County, which has been offered as an offset by Romarco, has eluded environmentalists for decades but could become a reality under the current proposal. (Although there are some turf war skirmishes going on, as the damage will mainly be in Kershaw & Lancaster Counties.)
As a reminder, and as I’m sure Romarco is aware, obtaining permits is not a shield against liability for contamination or personal injury. In most jurisdictions, compliance with a permit is simply evidence of acting reasonably, but is not a complete defense.
So there’s gold in them thar wetlands, but it remains to be seen whether it’s just iron pyrite.