EARTHWORKS

Glamis Gold Caught Under-Reporting Mercury Releases

November 15, 2006

Reno -- Glamis Gold Ltd. has been caught seriously under-reporting mercury pollution from its Marigold Mine in Humboldt County. The company recently changed its reported mercury emissions for the past four years. Glamis' changes come after three conservation groups filed a notice warning the gold mining company that they would take legal action if the company did not fully disclose their toxic mercury air emissions as required by the Community Right to Know Act. The notice of intent to sue was filed by Great Basin Mine Watch, Idaho Conservation League and Earthworks against Glamis Gold Ltd. in August.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) was created to ensure that the public has access to important information on the toxic and hazardous materials released near their community. Under the law, mining operations are required to submit an annual toxic chemical release report to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is then made available to the public through its Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).

The Right to Know Act allows companies to submit revised forms to the EPA at any time. Since the filing of the notice of intent to sue, Glamis has dramatically increased its reported emissions for the years 2001 through 2005.

"It's clear that Glamis had been under-reporting their mercury air pollution for at least the past four years." said Dan Randolph, Director of Great Basin Mine Watch. "Unfortunately, this type of self reporting is what Nevada has required under it's regulations as well." he added.

In March the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection passed new regulations governing mercury air emissions from mines. The controversial regulations are based upon mines self-reporting releases with no governmental measurement of releases or oversight to ensure the reports are accurate.

"These changes, up over eight thousand percent for 2003, and over six thousand percent in 2002, show that Glamis was not being forthcoming with its neighbors about the amounts of mercury it is releasing," said Justin Hayes of Idaho Conservation League. "Obviously self-reporting does not work, and the public is at risk from abuse by such a system," he added.

 

Year

Mercury Releases
Before Revision
(lbs)

Mercury Releases
After Revision
(lbs)

Increase
(%)

2001

30

47.4

58

2002

1

61.5

6,050

2003

2

174.4

8,620

2004

6.6

184.9

2,702

2005

322.1

327.6

17

Total

361.7

795.8

120

Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin, particularly for children. Exposure to mercury can cause significant neurological and developmental problems such as attention and language deficits, impaired memory and impaired vision and motor function.

According to the TRI, Nevada is the nation's top mercury hot spot, due to mercury emissions from gold mining. More mercury is released into the air, water and land in Nevada than any other state.

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For more information:

Contacts --

Learn more about the Toxics Release Inventory and mining

Learn more about mercury and mining

Tagged with: tri, toxics, nevada, mining, mercury, gold

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