The Virginia Coalition

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The Virginia Coalition is a diverse group of current Southside Virginia job creators who are concerned about the health of our employees and workforce, as well as our future ability to recruit new companies and employees into the region given the health implications of uranium mining.  We are CEO's, business owners, entrepreneurs, economic developers and current and former legislators who have a simple request: READ The Reports before voting on a matter with such far reaching ramifications.

More resources are available at CommonHealth Virginia; visit the site.

By: The Editorial Board | GoDanRiver

The Roanoke River Basin Association has released what it calls a list of "potential uranium exploration and mining sites in Pittsylvania County" following a search of public records.

The group has successfully tied Marline Corp.'s efforts in the 1980s to secure mineral rights to county land with the possibility that Virginia will soon allow uranium mining all over the state.

"I was an attorney for the now defunct Marline Corp. and in those days Marline identified dozens of sites for uranium exploration and possibly future mining," former county supervisor Hank Davis said in a news release. "County residents should be concerned about the health, environmental and economic impacts of not just the Coles Hill site but at least three feasible mining locations spread throughout the county."

Marline — the first company to show an interest in mining the Coles Hill site — had the mineral rights to 40,000 acres of Pittsylvania County land during the 1980s. But Marline hit the jackpot at Coles Hill, the site of a 119 million pound deposit of uranium ore.

The Roanoke River Basin Association has made an important point, and one that should be remembered as the General Assembly debates this issue next winter.

Uranium is a naturally occurring substance, but there is a huge difference between finding uranium ore and finding enough of it that a site is profitable to mine. Geologists know what is under Coles Hill. They know how much uranium ore is there and how concentrated it is. They have developed maps of the "ore body" and know how deep it goes.

None of the work that has been done at Cole Hill has been replicated anywhere else. Marline may have leased land along B Jones Road, Dry Fork Road, Gemstone Lane, Moorefield Bridge Road and Tunstall High Road — just to name five — but it would take scores of scientists time to visit those sites and try to determine if there is any uranium there, how much is there and if it would be profitable to move forward with a mining project.

That's not an easy process, and it's not going to happen if Virginia continues to prohibit uranium mining.

But if the General Assembly gives the green light to Virginia Uranium's project at Coles Hill, that would allow any mining company to move into the region and look for potential mines of their own.

Andrew Lester, the executive director of the Roanoke River Basin Association, said in a news release that, "... we should expect lots of exploratory activity in Southside if the uranium ban is lifted."

No matter where you stand on the issue of uranium mining in Virginia, if the ban were to be lifted, we can expect a lot more exploration for uranium both locally — and across Virginia.