EDEN, NC — Virginia’s General Assembly is considering lifting a moratorium on mining uranium that has been in place since 1982, and doing so could have a dramatic effect on North Carolina’s recreational waterways.
The potential mine is on a farm near Gretna and Chatham in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The company attempting to mine the ore that contains the uranium, Virginia Uranium, Inc., estimates the lode to be 119 million pounds.
VUI estimates that could bring in more than 324 jobs for Pittsylvania County and millions of dollars for the local economy.
However, many of the locals don’t support it, and an hour and a half southwest of Chatham in Eden, NC, the Dan River Basin Association definitely does not support it.
Tiffany Hawood is the executive director, and she agrees mining uranium will bring jobs to the area.
“If you’re talking about jobs for cleaning up environmental risks, then yeah, maybe,” Hawood said.
Hawood believes the mining puts the Dan and Smith Rivers, which run through Rockingham County and are popular for tubing and canoeing, at risk.
“I can’t think of one good reason to do this,” Hawood said.
North Carolina would experience the fallout of a mining disaster but has no authority to stop Virginia from getting rid of the ban.
Hawood suggested the General Assembly write and pass a strongly-worded resolution against uranium mining to try and influence Virginia’s lawmakers in Richmond.
Virginia Senator John Watkins is taking the lead on the end of the mining ban. He believes it will further economic development in the state and make Virginia more energy independent.