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Haile Gold Mine (HGM) - Environmental Impact and Mitigation Plan

Environmental Impact

Starting in 1827 when gold was discovered at Haile, mining has impacted the land on and off for nearly 200 years. The most recent mining cycle from the 1980s has been fully reclaimed but outside that footprint evidence of the past mining remain.

New technology opens the door to different mining techniques.  Romarco says the Haile Gold Mine operation "will institute possibly the most rigorous environmental program in mining…that will go beyond regulatory requirements."  Click here to read details of their plans.

So far, the Haile team has spent more than $4 million on environmental studies. A pre-mining survery found there to be no evidence of the Carolina Heelsplitter on the mine site. 

Mining process

The Haile processing facility will be state-of-the art utilizing new technology.
Mercury will not be used on the Haile Gold Mine site.
Cyanide will only be used in a closed circuit process and will be neutralized before it leaves the closed circuit system.

Haile leaders say their plan is designed to ensure everything that touches cyanide will be double lined or double contained - even after neutralization.  Additionally they say:

  • "While operating, any rain that falls in the pit or on high sulfide material will be collected and treated to ensure quality standards are met before released.
  • Water used for processing will be cyanide neutralized before being sent to tailings and will be 100% recycled for the life of Haile.
  • Cyanide will not be released into the waters of South Carolina.
  • The entire facility will be voluntarily compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code. "

Cyanide is addressed on the FAQ page of the company website with a video response to the question, "Does Haile have to use cyanide?"

Restoring Impacted Land

Restoring land impacted by mining will begin almost as soon as mining begins.  Haile plans to use concurrent reclamation and any existing disturbance will be 100% bonded.   Click here for the company video on concurrent reclamation and look for the question "What is Haile's reclamation plan?"

Haile leaders say the company "will spend as much money on reclamation as mine equipment. And at the end of the mine life they say the site will be contoured, topsoil restored and revegetated. Engineered wetlands will be installed where appropriate to ensure long-term water quality."

Mitigation Plan

Mitigation is the process of offsetting the impacts to wetlands and streams.
Haile's mitgaton plan will preserve land in two South Carolina counties, create a Lynches River Conservation Board and will create the largest Midland's nature preserve in the South Carolina Heritage Trust program

The main components of the Haile Gold Mine Mitigation Plan are: land donations, endowments and a new conservation board.

  • Three well-known land resources, totaling more than 4,000 acres in South Carolina, will be preserved and held in the South Carolina Heritage Trust Program. 
    • Rainbow Ranch
    • Goodwill Plantation
    • Cooks Mountain

The parcels of land were chosen for their significant natural resource areas, including aquatic resources capable of providing environmental benefits on a watershed and regional scale, unique landforms, cultural resources, and historic and archeological resources.

  • Two endowments (approximately $10 million dollars) provide financial resources to support the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) in its efforts to protect, maintain and, as it deems appropriate, restore or enhance the resources of the sites, and for projects for the benefit of the Carolina Heelsplitter mussel.
  • One new conservation board will be established.  Haile and several South Carolina environmental groups agreed to establish a Lynches River Conservation Board to fund land acquisition projects in the Lynches River watershed that improve the water quality and ecological integrity of the Lynches River watershed.  As an initial contribution to this endeavor, Haile will transfer approximately 368 acres of currently owned land in the Flat Creek area of Lancaster County to a land conservation organization.  After Haile achieves commercial production it will make four annual donations to the Lynches River Conservation Board in the amount of $1 million each.  These funds will be used to further conserve and protect the Lynches River watershed. 

More details of the plan can be heard in this company video.   Additionally click here for details of the plan.