Grass Valley, CA — Ben Mossman, CEO and spokesperson of fledgling Canadian-turned-Nevadan mining company Rise Gold, held a press conference this morning to address some concerns from Nevada County residents regarding the proposed reopening of the Idaho Maryland Gold Mine.
While there’s support for the proposal from some residents who feel the company would provide much-needed, high-paying jobs for locals, many are concerned with the environmental and quality of life issues the opening of a significant mining operation could produce. While Mossman didn’t address those particular talking points, he says Rise Gold has identified and devised a plan to solve the housing crunch as well as homelessness, in what he called “a win-win for everyone.”
“Wildfires, lack of high paying jobs, and homelessness. These are the top three issues facing Nevada County according to a completely unbiased poll we conducted using a handful of citizens in each district, including 100 people in district 4, the district mine operations will effect. We wanted to assess what Rise Gold could do for this county to make it a better place with our presence. The poll identified the top three concerns of those citizens, and I’m delighted to announce that after consulting with interested investors and the county, we’ve managed to take two of those issues directly off your plate. We need unskilled laborers. Nevada County needs people off the streets and housed. I think we can scratch each other’s backs on this one.”
Jobs and More Jobs
Expanding on Rise Gold’s promise to generate 600 jobs in the area, Mossman explains how those jobs could be reserved exclusively for able-bodied members of the local homeless community.
“They need jobs? We’ve got jobs-very lucrative jobs. Do they need housing? We’ve got plenty of space down below for people to find a little corner of and call their own. So not only would they be receiving a salary far above a living wage, there is a convenient work from home benefit as well.”
Asked how many jobs Rise Gold could foresee generating for the substantial number of unhoused communities, Mossman grew confident.
“We have the projected capacity to provide 600 positions if granted the permit to operate. Three hundred of those positions are hypothetical and would be provided by other businesses that would likely be expanding due to our presence. Out of the remaining 300, a large number of them would have to be contracted out of the area, as they are the higher-tiered positions for mineral specialists and other trained professionals we’re unlikely to source here. These are also hypothetical, as production could be delayed for 10-15 years, and we’re not sure what will happen.”
After pausing for a moment, Mossman got to the point.
“That leaves around 160 positions available for local, unskilled workers that we’re happy to train. If we reserve those positions exclusively for the homeless in the area, that’s 160 people sleeping hundreds of feet underground instead of on the cold streets.”
When asked if those positions we guaranteed with the approval of the permit, Mossman explained that those positions were also considered hypothetical.
“To deliver on the plan, the mine would have to be operating at full capacity, and that’s looking to cost about 100 million. We’re courting investors, and so far, we have secured just a smidge under half a million, so that’s looking real good. It’s pretty much in the bag.”
Nevada County homeless numbers have risen in recent years, and Rise Gold’s proposal would only account for about a quarter of those currently in need. Mossman addressed this by introducing a secondary program for those who didn’t make it through the initial hiring period.
“We understand that hiring the homeless and building a large underground housing network for 160 people doesn’t solve the problem. There are a lot of people in need here. Our pay is very competitive, and quite frankly, we’re a little stretched on cash at the moment, so we can’t offer paid positions. But we are willing to consider providing room and board in the mines in exchange for labor.”
Mossman explained that while there was no running water or laid out living spaces in the shafts and tunnels of the mine, areas in between operation points could quickly be cordoned off with low, plastic construction fencing that we’ll provide.
“Of course, they will be welcome to bring their camping equipment and set up wherever they like. We have faith they can work that out between themselves. The bottom line is, if you’ve got room for us, we’ve got room for you.”