February 01, 2008 12:13 PM
by Heather B. Hayes
There has been a moratorium on mining for uranium in Virginia for 25 years, but that hasn’t stopped a Pittsylvania County company from exploring the possibilities.
Using a permit from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, Virginia Uranium LLC, a startup owned by Walter Coles, began drilling for core samples of uranium on his family’s farm just outside of Chatham in Pittsylvania County. The drilling is expected to take six to nine months.
“We need to redefine the ore body, to confirm that it contains 110 million pounds as was suggested 25 years ago [by the Marline Corp.],” Coles explains. He believes that technology has advanced enough since the 1980s to make uranium mining safe.
Renewed interest in uranium mining is the result of a growing demand for alternative energy sources, such as nuclear power. Currently, most uranium is mined in France, Canada and Australia.
Coles and his investors hope that the General Assembly will set up a study commission to determine whether uranium mining could be done without contaminating streams and groundwater. Coles predicts that the General Assembly would lift the moratorium if the commission decides that the mining process is safe.
Many local residents and environmental groups, however, strongly oppose the exploratory drilling. They are skeptical of claims that uranium can be mined safely.
“A handful of folks here will make a lot of money if this comes to pass,” Chatham resident Linda Worsley wrote in a letter to the Danville Register& Bee. “The rest of us will wake up wondering every day if ‘human error’ or ‘inaccurate science’ will render our backyards a hazardous wasteland.”
Well that’s a bit of a misleading header, isn’t it? Yes, of course the company hopes that study results favor opening a mine. All Americans would love to strike it rich! However, their STATED purpose is to get the study up and running so it can be determined whether this can be done SAFELY.
Your title implies that they are going to try to ram this decision through, come hell or high water, and that they have begun drilling under suspicious circumstances. Without giving evidence that the past actions of the company’s officers and stockholders warrant this assumption, you are biasing your story.
I thought reporters were supposed to REPORT, not editorialize?
For the record, I am a local resident, living within 5 miles of the proposed site. I have written in favor of the study on my blog, CatHouseChat.com (look under the category “uranium”). I have conducted an interview with Walter Coles., Jr., the Executive Vice President and Mick Milosovic, the VP of Operations, and found them very open to offering information and addressing citizens’ concerns.
I have requested an interview with Southside Concerned Citizens, but have not yet received a time and date for it.
My goal is to present both sides, fairly and rationally, so that interested citizens can review the information and make a decision based on their understanding of the FACTS, rather than fear.
... But then again, I thought that was a REPORTER’s job, too…
Kat of Gretna, VA
Feb. 1, 2008 at 06:06 PM
I live 3 miles by crow,5 Miles by road from the uranium mining site. The open pits of waste water are sitting there waiting for unexpecting wildlife. The fuel trucks are running our roads with mud, dirt,and dust from the dig sites. I only pray and will work hard to fight stop this mining in my backyard. If VAU is wrong about this mining being safe and I know it’s not safe, it’s myself,my family and grand children that will pay down the road,
but only time till it effects each of you in the same way. Thanks
Deborah Miller of Chatham, Va.
Feb. 2, 2008 at 09:51 PM
Heather - The headline is completely accurate, and if it wasn’t your editors wouldn’t have OK’d it. Virginia Uranium Ltd., which for unknown reasons is actually registered in Canada of all places, does indeed want to see the moratorium overturned (heck, uranium prices are expected to double next year). And residents like Deborah have good reason to be very, very concerned about the potential for contamination. When you look at the string of tornadoes that swept through four states the other evening, could you imagine the added chaos if that happened across Pittsylvania County? Or near a uranium processing plant? I shudder to think about the possibilities.
Another concerned family of close enough to care
Feb. 8, 2008 at 01:43 PM
Sounds like a worthy cause…just always have to keep the public opinion in mind especially when trying to win over the <A HREF=“http://www.characterplanet.com”>online community</A> support.
Feb. 21, 2008 at 07:30 AM
When you look at the string of tornadoes that swept through four states the other evening, could you imagine the added chaos if that happened across Pittsylvania County.
<a href=“http://www.be-at-home.com”>Electra lofts</a>
Apr. 18, 2008 at 02:36 PM
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