Ore processing on the Bay? Baykeeper Alert!

In the Examiner’s opinion: Not since the LNG proposal or the East-West Crazy Train has there been this type of potential threat to our bay.

Updated Alert from Baykeeper:

A fairly new corporation called US Mine Corp. is looking at the former pulp mill as a possible site for a processing facility accessible for unspecified mines from Alaska to South America. This would involve using cyanide and other chemicals used to extract gold from aggregate rock – although the details have not been revealed, since there is no formal proposal yet. Tonight the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District will consider a 180-day Exclusive Right to Negotiate with US Mine Corp.

Come to tonight’s meeting at Woodley Island to let the Harbor Commissioners and the US Mine Corp. know that storing cyanide and other toxic chemicals on our Bay to process mining ore is unacceptable.

The Harbor District and US EPA recently removed millions of gallons of caustic chemicals left behind by the previous operator of the pulp mill. The cleanup has to date cost taxpayers $4 million and is expected to cost $10 million to complete.

Humboldt Baykeeper applauds the District for protecting Humboldt Bay from Evergreen Pulp’s mess – but wonders why anyone would consider putting a cyanide leaching operation in the tsunami zone near one of the most active earthquake zones in the Pacific. No amount of engineering and spill response will prevent the level of damage to Humboldt Bay that would occur from a major earthquake. Cyanide processing was banned in 1998 by voter initiative in the state of Montana, when 85,000 gallons of cyanide-laced water leaked through damaged leach pad liners, killing all life in a 17-mile stretch of Colorado’s Alamosa River.

The District should continue its search for environmentally-appropriate industries to use the former pulp mill.

For more info: Mining corporation sets sights on pulp mill

DONATE NOW to support our work!

Jennifer Kalt, Director
Humboldt Baykeeper
1385 Eighth Street, Suite 228
Arcata, CA 95521
(707) 825-1020

This Alert from Humboldt Baykeeper:harbor district

Thursday at 7 pm

Harbor District Office Meeting Room

on Woodley Island

US Mine Corp. is looking at the former pulp mill as a possible site for a processing facility accessible for mines from Alaska to South America. This would involve using cyanide and other chemicals used to extract gold from aggregate rock – although the details have not been revealed, since there is no formal proposal yet. Thursday at 7 pm is a chance hear from the mining corporation, who will be asking the Harbor Commissioners for a 180-day Exclusive Right to Negotiate.

I am hoping some of you will come to the meeting to listen and to let the Commissioners and the US Mine Corp. know that a lot of people are going to watch this very closely. If you are inspired to speak, great, but just being there to watch would be helpful at this stage, since there is no proposal or application.

Here’s the article from today’s Times Standard: http://www.humboldtbaykeeper.org/news/press/993-mining-corporation-sets-sights-on-pulp-mill-.html

Also of interest on Thursday’s agenda is PG&E’s application for the final site restoration plan for the former nuclear power plant, which will now begin wending its way through the various permitting processes.

Lastly, Coast Seafoods’ proposed oyster expansion will be the subject of a scoping hearing on Feb. 17 at the District office, 6 pm. The Initial Study is posted at http://humboldtbay.org/documents.

There’s a lot going on around Humboldt Bay these days!

Jennifer Kalt,  Director Humboldt Baykeeper

1385 Eighth Street, Suite 228, Arcata, CA 95521





25 thoughts on “Ore processing on the Bay? Baykeeper Alert!

  1. jobs-jobs-jobs shall be the cry and the promise.

    just don’t concern yourself with the adjacent Humboldt Bay oyster industry and their jobs or the outfall from whatever we need to spew down the 1500′ drain to the ocean…fish?..surfing?…water quality issues?…dust?..quit whining stupid hippies.

    No problemo: jobs-jobs-jobs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • ore containing whatever other minerals, processed with whatever chemicals from the west coast including Canada and south america if I read that right.

      This can’t in any way be a clean operation.

      Anybody ever see a coal port or a cement plant?

      I hope the project is clean if promised, but I think it would be pretty unlikely.

      Another odd thing about this is that California has the Coastal Commission, and they are usually pretty strict if you believe the industries that have to deal with them.

      So..why California?>

      …. why not Oregon, those little coastal communities are not really happy to have coal terminals and CNGas terminals dumped on them…maybe because up there there is already current organized opposition and here there sort of isn’t?..interesting.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Can’t wait to hear Rex’s words of wisdom on this. The LNG fiasco told me a lot about how concerned Rex was with our bay. So Hum people should pay close attention to Estelle on this also….

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Here are the questions I’d ask. Is the process being suggested useful. In other words, is there a demand for it? If there is then we have a responsibility to consider it.

    Again, I don’t think Humboldt should be an environmental or economic Disneyland – I think the last 10 years of HumCo politics demonstrates where this leads.

    We can’t subtract this or that industry from our calculation of if we are sustainable as a society or a globe.

    So here is how I would like us to look at these type of proposals. Can any proposed project be clean? What can we do to insure this. We will have some leverage and protection given CA’s leadership environmentally. Any proposed industry should also be looked at, yes, in terms of the jobs it will provide and liberals, progressives, Democrats cannot poo-poo this.

    It’s too important, it would guarantee defeat politically, and it would be wrong – from a liberal or conservative perspective. We need jobs, if there is a legitimate geographical reason this or that industry is interested in setting up shop, we should listen.

    Worst case scenario, let’s say this or that Corp. is trying to set up shop here not b/c of the economics of the location, but b/c of the politics – ie it sees us as exploitable. Given the protections we have here we could go a long way to helping to create a world-class process of _____. I really think we could. The other option is, assuming industrial/maricultural process x is kicked to the curb, what’s the likelihood this process will continue but in a community which is even in worse shape to insure sustainable cradle-to-grave thinking that we might be able to provide.

    I’d say let’s look at the proposal and think not in terms of NOT HERE, but in terms of how can we make this work and how can we insure that this is done to the highest standards and in a way that, all things considered, the workers and the community, now and in the future, are benefited.

    From Jen…”It is one world, it is not just what happens here that will affect us.” Exactly, we are one world. If this process is going to happen, I’d trust Californians and our regulatory structure to do this right.


    • My guess, just totally off the top of my head, is that the process may require a lot of water, and that’s something readily available at that site given the former pulp mills and the water system that was created to feed them. Again, just a guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      • interesting link Mitch, thanks, key quote there…

        It’s an exciting discovery because of the implications for gold extraction on an industrial scale. The waste product from cyanidation is a disgusting and toxic gloop that can seep into rivers or poison groundwater, killing wildlife and rendering landscape sterile. Huge pits of ore can be subjected to cyanide leaching in mines, with the runoff a major environmental hazard that requires a significant cost to render safe. Despite this, its scaleability makes it by far the most common method for extracting gold from ore.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. I just don’t quite get the whole premise of this proposed enterprise — they’re planning to ship raw ore all the way here from distant mines, in order to extract the gold here? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that usually done close to the mines themselves, because shipping the ore long distances would be extremely expensive? Something not quite adding up here…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sparky:

      I’m with you… gold ore is mostly rock and dirt… if you can get an ounce of gold out of a ton of ore then you are doing very well.

      That means tons and tons of rock if they are doing any meaningful kind of processing.

      Shipping tons and tons of rock is expensive. Plus, once processed, what is done with the tons and tons of left over mess? It either gets shipped out (expensive), recycled into something else (doubtful) or just piled up in unpleasant looking giant stacks (most probable).

      And cyanide is no joke. People used to worry about the chlorine gas stored at the pulp mills. That’s mother’s milk compared to cyanide.

      Cyanide just loves to get loose into the environment… and horrendous accidents do happen. Then there are tsunamis…

      Liberal John is correct when he says we need to look positively at every opportunity to develop a job creating tax paying business.

      However, I have to ask why here?

      The answer may not be to our liking.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MOLA: Jen’s and your Tsunami concern is an important one. I don’t think it should be a deal breaker though – it seems like there could be some technologically ingenious way around this (like the one Mitch linked to). If cyanide is used questions should be asked like what quantities of cyanide will there be, worst case scenario, a Fukishima -scale tsunami, what is the potential consequences given the significant dilution (which is often the solution to pollution). Is there a way to have an emergency neutralization process at the ready or some plan to have only “just in time” quantities of cyanide available.

        These are the types of things smart local leaders should be looking into. Take it seriously, make sure we are not getting taken advantage of, and let’s not be resolutely against growth or industry.

        Why here? is a great question, another question we need to be asking is why not here?

        Liked by 1 person

      • heh, well Jon, a nice thought but the quote in the Loco article today after the meeting has the mine president scott whatevername saying ‘cyanide’s just not that dangerous’ and dimisses concerns about it. Well, I guess we were wrong to worry about it then.

        And claims that all processes will stay inside the sheds? ore comes in, stuff goes out, and no mention of ocean discharges.

        I can’t begin to imagine the arrogance of people like the mine president…but then again I met Reagan and lived near Harold Simmons once, yet I’m a slow learner, ..I still am amazed

        Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a good question – from the article – “Because mines and potential mine sites are often in remote areas, it is not feasible to process the ore at or near the locations, leaving some sites unused or not mined as extensively as possible, he said.”

      Not saying this is a complete answer – it’s what was in the article though.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Back to cops and dead civilians…this was interesting FBI Director Comey weighs in on shooting data…

    “FBI Director James Comey gives brave, but clumsy speech on issues of race and policing in America”


    Wash Post quotes this:

    “Not long after riots broke out in Ferguson, I asked my staff to tell me how many people shot by police were African American. They couldn’t, and it wasn’t their fault,” he said. “Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistently reported to us. . . . Because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore, in the aggregate, unreliable.”
    “It’s ridiculous that I can’t tell you how many people have been shot by the police in this country,” he later said in response to a student’s question.

    but then went downhill from there saying we’re racists and it’s our fault and not the cops..cause we’re stupid and poor, not the cops, they’re cool…or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe they’ll call it “Evergreen” again to throw Rex a bone.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is what I’m talking about. “Your Week in Ocean: Cyanide On the Bay? Plus Abalone Survey and A-Town Underwater”

    This is emotionalism and although it’s worked in the past as a stop gap, we have to move our politics forward.

    I don’t begrudge Jennifer Savage for this, this is her job. It’s our job to manage the politics and if we are going to depend on emotionalism, whether it’s using the word “cyanide” or focusing on trails and viewscapes rather than…say…salmon and science (check out attendance of GPU meetings) then we are in trouble. The end result of this is an eco-Disneyland which is fine until, inevitably it isn’t – as we found out in Humboldt with the voter’s revolt in 2010.

    Again, this is not about Jen Savage NEC or BayKeeper, they are doing their 501(c)(3) non-political job. We need to see the big picture.



    • Jon if these guys were doing their jobs, they would have spoke-up when the so-called “restoration” read eradication of beach grass began to cause erosion and effected our Base Flood Elevation.
      They turned their backs on our wetlands, our wildlife,
      our stability and have invited Salt Water Intrusion into the
      North Spit’s fresh-water marshes and ponds.

      World-class dune system screwed royally while Baykeeper look hard the other way.


  8. Great turnout last night. Lots of skepticism expressed about this vague plan. Thanks to Baykeeper for staying on top of this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • BayKeeper supporter, why do you fail to address the massive erosion, the dead native trees by the hundreds,
      the loss of wildlife, the impact on wetlands and the incredible loss of Base Flood Elevation?

      Weeds? Read the Permits!


  9. Pingback: Tuluwat Examiner | Congratulations Baykeeper! US Mine Corporation bails!

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