Sierra Club Challenges SC Gold Mine

LANCASTER FACILITY DELAYED BY ENVIRONMENTAL APPEAL  By FITSNEWS || A gold mine touted by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s administration as the source of $373 million in capital investment and 270 new jobs is being challenged by environmentalists. The Sierra Club said this week it will challenge the construction of the…


By FITSNEWS || A gold mine touted by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley‘s administration as the source of $373 million in capital investment and 270 new jobs is being challenged by environmentalists.

The Sierra Club said this week it will challenge the construction of the Haile Gold Mine in Lancaster County, S.C. – a project which has previously received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Canadian-based Romarco Minerals – which owns the Haile Gold Mine – selected the Lancaster site in 2007 and began purchasing land.  It currently owns 12,000 acres around the site – which has been operated off and on for the last 190 years.

According to the company, it has identified “four million ounces of measured and indicated mineral resource with an additional 800,000 ounces in the inferred mineral resource category.”

According to, an ounce of gold is currently valued at $1,192 – meaning billions of dollars are potentially at stake.

Haley and her administration are “all in” on behalf of the mine owners.  Of course so are many Democratic politicians, including her opponent in the 2014 gubernatorial election – S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

“It’s no secret that South Carolina is blessed with natural resources, and Romarco Minerals’ decision to expand their operations at the old Haile Gold Mine is an example of the positive impact those resources can have on our economy,” Haley said earlier this month.

Romarco previously claimed that reopening the gold mine would create anywhere from 700 to 800 jobs – although it later acknowledged many of them would be temporary positions.  Even before the permit challenge, though, it was unclear exactly when the company would begin hiring.

According to the S.C. Department of Commerce, Romarco “is hopeful that hiring will begin prior to year-end 2014, but it will be dependent on market conditions.”

Hmmmm ….

Haley’s administration – as FITS readers are well aware – doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to its “economic development” promises.  On numerous occasions, projects have failed to come anywhere close to the projected hiring totals – or been abandoned altogether.

Environmentalists don’t care how many jobs the gold mine is expected to create – they’re concerned with the project’s environmental impact.

“History teaches us these kinds of operations never function exactly as planned, especially long into the future; abandoned mines need perpetual maintenance,” local Sierra Club leader Susan Corbett said. “The lack of adequate clean up and monitoring funds has left S.C. taxpayers holding the bag for millions, if not billions of dollars on a variety of fronts, including other mines and landfill sites. Are we ever going to learn from these experiences? It’s better to err on the side of caution, and put more money aside, than expect future taxpayers, who never benefited from these operations, to pay to clean up the mess left by failed reclamation models or unplanned events that sabotage the plan.”

According to Corbett, the mine “will create pits as deep as 840 feet over 2400 acres of disturbed land and streams, and produce huge quantities of acid generating waste, requiring monitoring and management for hundreds of years.”

That’s why her organization is challenging a permit issued by staff at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

The agency initially sought $80 million to cover any environmental damage associated with the mine.  Company officials refused to pay that amount, later agreeing to a $60 million “financial assurance requirement.”  The Sierra Club believes the company should be made to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 million.

They are also challenging some of the financial assumptions associated with the SCDHEC deal – notably the amount required to be provided in cash.

“We should stop selling our state so cheaply,” Corbett said. “If we allow toxic industries to come here and do business, they should be made to guarantee upfront, through untouchable and sufficient funds, that future taxpayers won’t have to pay for their toxic legacy. We’ve allowed too much of that in our state already.”


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euwe max November 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

“We should stop selling our state so cheaply,”
Republicans aren’t gonna go for that!

sparklecity November 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm

That’s one of those South Carolina “traditions” some are so proud of!!!!!

tomstickler November 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

Anyone still invested in gold ought to consider how an additional 4.8 million (Troy) ounces of gold hitting the market will impact their holdings.

Too slow to matter November 20, 2014 at 10:38 am


euwe max November 20, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Stranded on a desert island, “precious metals” are just rocks…. food, shelter and health is silver, and a true friend is gold.

At least here, fools will give you food, shelter and health care for it, so they can use it to eat too much, make other fools jealous, engage in risky behavior and eventually die bitter and hateful, trying to “find themselves.”

..and they say drugs are bad for you!

Yep! November 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

“Stranded on a desert island, “precious metals” are just rocks…. food, shelter and health is silver, and a true friend is gold.”

Just like stocks & bonds!

euwe max November 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

gold and silver are like rocks, unless you can make a bellows.. but even then, you’d rather have tin, iron and copper.. if you can’t make a bellows, you’d prefer flint… sulfur…salt… and coal..

stocks and bonds are like chess pieces… you can play against imaginary opponents until you win or lose, and set them up all over again.. out here, you play against the house, so the more you play, the more you lose.

You might actually have to take delivery on a few tons of cardboard if they give you a short account.

Yep! November 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

It’s so hard to get out of the ground & refine, the inflation rate will be much lower than the Fed’s on the dollar.

Slim Shady November 20, 2014 at 10:20 am

Yep, a few jobs for a short time and then they pack up and leave a wasteland. Not worth it for our children and their children.

Tom November 20, 2014 at 11:10 am

Who in SC government gives a shit about your children? Unless of course you have several million dollars in the bank, then you can buy some concern.

Deo Vindice SC November 20, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Sandi cares. A patriot for fairness. where is she ?

Moonscape November 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Right, if you trust the Army Corps of Engineers and DHEC to do it carefully and correctly you are naïve indeed. They may not do it dishonestly but that is a far cry from carefully and correctly.

Jack's empty bribe hand November 20, 2014 at 10:28 am

Prior articles stated that the mine had bought off most of the enviros. Guess Sierra Club didn’t get their cut. Let’s be honest. They all only care about getting enough in sponsorships to their groups for enviro awards.

Quote” The S.C. Coastal Conservation League, the S.C. Wildlife Federation and the Conservation Voters of South Carolina recently dropped opposition to the mine after Romarco Minerals agreed to protect 368 acres near the project for preservation and to provide $4 million for future land protection efforts.”

Noted noted are the sponsorships also provided….

euwe max November 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm

GG: He’s right, I had to sell. The key to the game is capital reserves. If you don’t have enough, you can’t piss in the tall weeds with the big dogs.

BF: “All warfare is based on deception.” Sun Tzu. “If your enemy is superior, evade him.” “If angry, irritate him.” “If equally matched, fight. And if not, split. Re-evaluate.”

GG: He’s learning, huh? Buddy’s learning!

Moonscape November 20, 2014 at 8:19 pm

That actually is the DHEC internal party line right now. Ask any company man parrot there.

Reindeargirl November 20, 2014 at 11:36 pm

The SC Sierra Club does not take money from corporations that pollute the environment. In fact we really don’t solicit corporate money. All our donations are raised from members and folks who support our work. We don’t get “sponsorships” or awards. We are a volunteer driven truly democratic grass roots organization that does all of our conservation work via volunteers. We are non-partisan, and members and leaders from all political parties. We invite you to join in our efforts to preserve out beautiful natural resources, while protecting taxpayers from corporate activities that put us and future generations at risk.

Corporations are bad November 21, 2014 at 9:29 am

“All our donations are raised from members and folks who support our work.”

I wonder how those people get their money.

Reindeargirl November 21, 2014 at 1:12 pm

you mean average people like me who donate to the club? or the other 5400 average people who are members across the state and who donate regularly? we get our money the old fashioned way – we EARN it.

Corporations are bad November 21, 2014 at 8:17 pm

we get our money the old fashioned way – we EARN it.

By not working for corporations? Tell me, who is earning money without working?

Do you weave baskets or sell paintings?

Reindeargirl November 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

I don’t know about anyone else, but I worked for my family business. I suspect there are many out there who don’t work for corporations. .

Corporations are bad November 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm

The family business wasn’t incorporated?

Bing November 20, 2014 at 10:39 am

Well I have to say being a conservative, Sierra Club’s argument makes perfect sense. Why should the taxpayers be left holding the bag so someone else can make money? Why burden us? This is a “gold mine” for the developer and, if their projections are correct, there should be plenty of profit.

Kinda reminds me of other sweet tax deals the State/counties make with our tax dollars to bring in “business” (and line someone else’s pocket). The State’s deal for Haile Gold Mine is in line with why we don’t (but should) assess impact fees on residential developers.

Now, county governments (like Lexington County, with the support of big business and their “penny” sales tax referendum) are trying to force you and me to pay for road improvements that were largely due to increased wear and tear from developers and to pave the way for more development — so someone else can make money. It was funny how recently one large residential developer (Mungo) sold the community on supporting a rezoning on a road that presently can’t even handle the existing traffic. He said not to worry, Richland County’s 1% sales tax increase would pay for road improvements.

LowcountryGmCock November 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

Read about what’s going on with the Coal Ash pits around the state or the hazardous waste landfill right next to Lake Marion. Any true conservative should be against spending taxpayer dollars to cleanup and monitor these sites but here we go again…….

Tom November 20, 2014 at 11:07 am

You say you agree with the Sierra Club, you complain about the roads in Lexington County, yet you continue to vote for a party bent on structuring government that benefits wealthy corporations and billionaires and has the middle class citizens pay for it. Getting taxpayers to pay for things like roads for developers, clean up of pollution for mining interests and large polluting corporations, etc. is what Republicans do. That is how they make money.

When Duke Power dumped tons of coal ash into the rivers and lakes in NC, Governor McCrory and now Senator Tom Tillis came to their rescue with a taxpayer funded clean up.

Its all a somewhat perverted reverse Robin Hood, but you get what you vote for; so why are you complaining now?

Bing November 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm

It’s funny how Democrats and Republicans can agree on many issues!

Yes, I vote Republican because no other Democrat candidate has yet to come close to supporting — first and foremost — my personal moral beliefs and most are not as fiscally conservative as I wish. That being said, many “Republican” candidates fall short on truly being fiscally conservative.

It seems though, after seeing the results of this last election, there are others who feel the same way as I do. And maybe next time there will be more true conservative candidates — who don’t believe in taxpayer-funded incentives — stepping forward. So in the mean time, we are left to vote for whom we think is the better candidate, though they certainly may not be the best.

Deo Vindice SC November 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

I’m back to not voting anymore, why bother ? I missed time from work, my bills are a little past due.

Tad November 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Not a good attitude. Sometimes it’s not easy. If you give up, you will forever be an indentured servant of government — with limited to no freedom. Thanks to those who do the work and keep us informed — the honest ones.

Deo Vindice SC November 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

Thanks Tad. Your mention is good. I have not given up.

LowcountryGmCock November 20, 2014 at 10:41 am

These other “green” groups are bought and paid for by the Gold Mine. Anybody that agrees “not to sue” just because the company chose to buy and preserve some more land doesn’t know what the hell is going on here. Do some research on how many facilities we have in our state already that the taxpayers are not responsible for monitoring and cleaning up…’s a lot. The Sierra Club is not looking to make money off of this, they’re looking to protect the citizens of South Carolina by making sure when it comes time to clean up this gold mine in 20-25 years, the money is there to do it.

euwe max November 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm

The last thing Republicans need is another set of crazy “true believers,” who don’t know when to take the money and shut the fuck up.

Deo Vindice SC November 20, 2014 at 2:14 pm

you got ’em . Dam E. pubs and $ , tooo old for me. go man.

Philip Branton November 20, 2014 at 11:44 am

3D Gold printer resource…….boomerang 205, 707………..BMW/GE supply wedge……….Nikki/Tata/SPA port wink……..

euwe max November 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

joker to pissant…

joker to pissant…

do you read?

encrypted message follows… key is TINKERBELL.. I say again… key is TINKERBELL

EhK drTpTff pTInE IR EvKnIdE pERKT dK lE rKpúblIcE IET, lImE lImE I, pKru

end of transmission.

Philip Branton November 20, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Well, nice try MR. Max but the object of the Fitsnews website is to be a winning location for all sorts of un-informed readers. Now Max, we know you are smart enough to know the value of reading the Fits reports here on this website. We also know that you are smart enough to realize how valuable GOLD is to manufacturers across our state. We also know that your kind heart goes out to all those women of our state who give birth to kids who grow up to go DIE for OIL instead of protecting our country. You may not be one who enjoys listening to the Jim Rome show on the radio; but any avid sports listener realizes how Jim uses language to educate his CLONES. If you listen to his show long enough, you would realize it is his LISTENERS who should be getting paid via the advertisers as much as Jim himself. Now Max, everyone here realizes how Wil and Liz and Mrs Folks gets paid…so….are YOU getting paid for your above comment..? What corporation do YOU cheer for with your comment. Obviously, there are points about me that are conducive to smelling and sounding like a pissant; but on the field of “play” you would be charged with a comment foul and be thrown a flag. Furthermore, you would lose two comment rewards and be docked a 10 yard mental penalty.

Now Max…..we want you to be a winner. We want you to live up to the SNAKE eyes your avatar makes you worthy of..!! For God’s sake Max…….use those eyez of yours to look at some Syrian pipeline guards. SO…..get back out there on the comment field and play like you really mean it. Don’t be like Liz Gunn and Wil Folks and fail to realize how your recycling trash will be used by 3D printer contractors to build products right here in your very own STATE to sell back to you and your kids with out you even getting paid for your empty beer bottles and Tide jugs…!!! Its your City Council and County Council who are the PISSANTS who are using YOUR trash you paid money to by product in that are using your trash and smiling all the way to a METHANE bank…!!!

Max…go gettem’……and get PAID. You deserve it…!!

euwe max November 20, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Euwe: With the exception of Eddie and myself, whom you already know, we’re going to be using aliases on this job. Under no circumstances do I want any one of you to relate to each other by your Christian names, and I don’t want any talk about yourself personally. That includes where you been, your wife’s name, where you might’ve done time, or maybe a bank you robbed in St. Petersburg. All I want you guys to talk about, if you have to, is what you’re going to do. That should do it. Here are your names…

[pointing to each respective member]

Euwe: Mr. Brown, Mr. joker, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, and Mr. pissant.

Mr. pissant: Hey, why am I Mr. pissant?

Euwe: Because you’re a faggot, awrite?

Mr. pissant: Why can’t we pick our own colors?

Euwe: No way, no way. Tried it once, doesn’t work. You got four guys all fighting over who’s gonna be Mr. Black, but they don’t know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You’re Mr. pissant. Be thankful you’re not Mr. Yellow.

Mr. Brown: Yeah, but Mr. Brown is a little too close to Mr. Shit.

Mr. pissant: Mr. pissant sounds like Mr. Pussy. How ’bout if I’m Mr. Purple? That sounds good to me. I’ll be Mr. Purple.

Euwe: You’re not Mr. Purple. Some guy on some other job is Mr. Purple. You’re Mr. pissant.

Mr. joker: Who cares what your name is?

Mr. pissant: Yeah, that’s easy for your to say, you’re Mr. joker. You have a cool-sounding name. Alright look, if it’s no big deal to be Mr. pissant, you wanna trade?

Euwe: Hey! NOBODY’S trading with ANYBODY. This ain’t a goddamn, fucking city council meeting, you know. Now listen up, Mr. pissant. There’s two ways you can go on this job: my way or the highway. Now what’s it gonna be, Mr. pissant?

Mr. pissant: Jesus Christ, Euwe, fucking forget about it. It’s beneath me. I’m Mr. pissant. Let’s move on.

Euwe: I’ll move on when I feel like it… All you guys got the goddamn message?… I’m so goddamn mad, hollering at you guys I can hardly talk. Pssh. Let’s go to work.

Philip Branton November 21, 2014 at 9:21 am

LOL…….way to go Euwe…!

+ 100 points and a dvd copy of “Mr. Ed”

Word to the wise Euwe…………to be kid friendly ………foul language needs to be more “colorful”. Once you master that….Benny Hill will start to smile…!

{ Boomerang 101, 404, ….Facebook “Smile Back”….. }

euwe max November 21, 2014 at 10:22 am

kid friendly


I *am* kid friendly! The shock isn’t in the words you use, it’s in how you use them!

When I was growing up, the things that brutalized my tender soul weren’t vocalized.. it was the emanation of evil intent that scarred my mind. The hatred, the lust for revenge.. the expectation of respect coupled with a silent promise of consequences..

It wasn’t being wrestled with, and bested by strength, but the realization that only the slightest push is required when two conspire to humiliate you… the realization, as your gaze goes from level to skyward, that you are falling backwards over the crouching body of his willing accomplice.. the knowledge that they possess something you despise as much as they despise you… evil asserting itself in pleasure at your realization that there are consequences for the choice not to engage in it.

I encourage understanding of the language – rather than expecting the innocent to respect my power, I want them to understand the application of good intentions by example… it is what you *do* that makes you evil… it is what you *want* to happen that determines the content of your character.

You must have the confidence that if you can understand, others can as well – despite centuries of belief to the contrary… that they are not able to discern, and cannot be expected to… so that they are vulnerable and naive about what “good” is.

A child may be in control of his own thoughts, and correctly interpret the world… an even greater grasp than those who are marketing the idea that “children are simple things.”

THE GINGHAM dog and the calico cat Side by side on the table sat; ‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!) Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink! The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate 5 Appeared to know as sure as fate There was going to be a terrible spat. (I was n’t there; I simply state What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

Shall we teach them that character is pretending, so that they can move about in a world of lies, hiding themselves away in shadows of deceit, until they prefer it?

Or as Spartans, make them worthy to meet anyone they meet upon the road, and meet them with a character that is genuine and case-hardened in the fire of reality?

I agree we, as men, should not seek out violence to prove ourselves, nor should we retire to the soft folds of our mother’s skirt, and looking past her into the street, dread the day “that other reality” crashes in upon us, carried by heartless strangers… who know more about us than we do ourselves.

Women, of course, will not become harlots the day they discover skin covers their entire body.. nor when they divine the purpose of the mechanisms hidden there.. Women are savaged and hardened by abuse of a completely different sort than the stuff of ideas – they are humiliated and made to feel like dirt by men who see the fear put there by their peers and parents.. inescapable guilt is forced into their souls like a knife pressed into a soldier’s breast in battle…

Women are gentle creatures who need the protection of men of their age.. .strong, able men whose fear of the unknown is transcended by their character.. exercised against the challenges of life – the paradoxes of action, sparring continually with the dungeon master, whose whip is reserved not for those who steal and kill, but for those who see – and speak – the truth.

When Bugs Bunny meets these challenges, does his face harden, and his teeth grind together in a scowl so that he loses all his ‘bunnyness’ or does he make the hard choices with the clarity born of familiarity, and yet retain his harmless, sarcastic wit? Boing, boing, boing… zooop!

Do you lose out on your childhood this way, or gain it?

Sconset987 November 20, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Thought about buying Romarco stock back when gold was $1,500/ounce. But now that it is $1,100/ounce, I am not sure how viable this project really is. It took too long for the company to get all the government approvals and deal with the environmental groups. Unless the price of gold goes back up, the Haile mine may never open. Sort of like the Keystone pipeline. With oil prices collapsing, the delay in getting the pipeline approved made the economics of that project questionable too.

rommon November 20, 2014 at 2:35 pm Reply
Moonscape November 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Ridgeway. More corporate welfare from SC’s corrupt politicians.

Bee Realistic November 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I’ve driven through the Haile Mine and it is already a disaster area. The mined area (largest open pit mine east of the Mississippi) has been stripped to the bedrock, nothing will ever grow there, and it can never be rehabilitated. The mine is in a remote area where there is nothing of interest, and it doesn’t much matter. Let ’em dig.

kayakcatawba November 22, 2014 at 8:51 pm

I live there bee realistic and I think my little part of the world does matter

sparklecity November 20, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Two “words”

“Pinewood Landfill”

Ring a bell????????????????

If they strip the gold from the soil the conventional way, it won’t just be acidic pits but cyanide pits as well.

I used to run a gold stripping system back in the 80’s

euwe max November 21, 2014 at 12:29 pm

let’s all get high before we die, and use mercury!

tomstickler November 21, 2014 at 9:38 am

Perhaps that last paragraph of Will’s article would have made more sense if it noted that two abandoned gold mines in South Carolina failed to post adequate bonds before shutting down and leaving taxpayers to foot the bill some 15 years ago. Those properties in McCormick and Chesterfield County are federal Superfund sites that have cost the public $27.4 million in cleanup costs,

Freed Man December 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

Sierra Club had 4 years to submit their concerns and to work alongside Romarco and the other environmental groups to mediate their concerns. But instead, with no input whatsover, they file their paperwork on the last day for appeals. This is a slap in the face to all of those who did their “due diligence.” Needless to say, I am sadly disappointed in Sierra’s shallow and calloused way of doing their “environmental” businness.

Freed Man December 5, 2014 at 11:31 am

Sierra Club had 4 years to submit their concerns and to work alongside Romarco and the other environmental groups to mediate their concerns. But instead, with no input whatsover, they file their paperwork on the last day for appeals. This is a slap in the face to all of those who did their “due diligence.” Needless to say, I am sadly disappointed in Sierra’s shallow and calloused way of doing businness.


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