Indigenous Groups and Gold Company Clash Over Site Near Death Valley

The potential risks to the environment have alarmed many

Death Valley
This conflict is playing out not far from Death Valley.
Ji Pak/Unsplash

Over the last year, the price of gold has been on the rise. For many companies, that’s translated into an increase in activity — both in terms of mining and in terms of seeking out new sites to explore and harvest from. The process of mining isn’t exactly low-profile, however, and the creation of a new gold mine can disrupt the local environment. A new conflict over one potential site appears to be brewing not far from Death Valley National Park, and it finds an alliance of Indigenous groups and environmental organizations working in tandem to stop a potential new mine from materializing.

A new report from Louis Sahagún at the Los Angeles Times explains the conflict in greater detail. K2 Gold Corp. has been exploring the terrain near the town of Lone Pine, California. Sahagún notes that the region has a history of mining, though its silver mines were active over a century ago.

K2, the article states, is seeking to either sell their findings or work with a larger company on mining. Arrayed against them are a number of groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe, the Timbisha Shoshone, Friends of the Inyo and the Sierra Club. These groups share a concern that mining could be harmful to tribal lands on Conglomerate Mesa.

That gold mining uses cyanide is also a source of concern for many. K2, for their part, have argued that a mine would stimulate the local economy — which has been adversely affected by a drop in tourism due to the pandemic. How the federal government will react remains to be seen — and Sahagún also notes that Congress might soon update laws that regulate mining, which would also have a bearing on this issue.

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