Residents and Environmental Group Voice Concern Over NexGen's Proposed Silica Mine Site in Ste. Genevieve County
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will soon decide the fate of the proposed NexGen Silica mine permit application, and whether it will be approved to move forward with development near Hawn State Park in Ste Genevieve.
On May 19th, NexGen Silica held an informal public meeting, which the Department of Natural Resources attended to help answer questions. On June 30th, the Department must decide whether the proposed mine will be developed or will instead be denied.
The concern that could lead to a denial, relates to its proximity to Hawn State Park. The proposed mine site is planned for an area along U.S. Highway 32, approximately one-half mile from Hawn State Park. The most common concern involves the potential for air pollution and water contamination in the region.
Larry Lehman is the Director of the Land Reclamation Program with the Department of Natural Resources. Lehman said that while considering the decision of approving the mine, the Department has heard the concerns people have over the mine's development.
"You know, people always have concerns regarding dust or noise or an increase in traffic. Any type of related pollution that may be associated with a mine, either being on the water or air side so we've heard many of those concerns related to this application"
One of the groups voicing their concerns with the Silica Mine is the Missouri Sierra Club. Conservation Program Coordinator, Marisa Frazier, mentioned Nexgen's desire to work with others and attempt to cause the least amount of damage possible.
However, Frazier's worried that any damage at all could be irreversible. "They say they want to take steps to minimize damage, but ultimately these chemicals called Flocculants that are used in the mining process, it's really a matter of when, not if they will get into groundwater. And once water is polluted, there's no going back from that".
The Department of Natural Resources will announce its decision on the NexGen permit Thursday, June 30th, considering all impacts that come with the development of the proposed 249-acre sandstone mine site in rural Ste. Genevieve County— including the comments voiced in the public meeting, and those received regarding the project.