Mining Safety Sound
With horror I watched videos shared on social media that showed a monstrous cutter head gold mining dredge custom-made to tear up the bottom of Safety Sound and Bonanza Channel in order to dredge up imaginary gold.
This is part of a scheme that involves an outside company called IPOP, which aims to mine gold here and a brand named Rivers of Gold that will be the TV reality production filming the endeavor and then selling ROG branded merchandise such as t-shirts, hats, gold jewelry and knickknacks such as snow globes, koozies and bobble heads. I almost laughed about the notion that people want to get rich on bobble heads and koozies, but the destruction of our own paradise at Safety is no laughing matter at all.
No matter where people stand on resource development, there seems to be consent that mining at Safety and Bonanza is a bad, bad idea.
Then add to the bad idea that it is coming from a shady outfit that does not communicate or seek input from the community it will massively affect with this ill-advised proposal. Bad manners and rude behavior do not make for good business.
No, we don’t condone that some outside company rolls into town and single-handedly destroys a major subsistence heaven.
No, we don’t condone being treated like we are some Third World country that does not abide by the laws of the land.
No, we are not the Wild West here.
No, we won’t be bullied into compliance.
And, no, we are not impressed by all the money that some investors have poured into the venture that is doomed to fail.
Nome has seen its share of gold-related schemes over the years. We can distinguish between the wanna-be’s and bona fide gold miners who know what they are doing and have been doing it well over the years. Those miners are still here, raise their families here and are a respected part of the fabric that is Nome. But they got there by hard work and adherence to the rules.
We commend BSNC, Kawerak, Solomon Native Corp. and NSEDC for springing into action and for making their opposition to the project known. It takes guts these days to show one’s true colors and we are relieved to see that in this instance all agree on what is worth protecting.—D.H.—