Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve says it will ask members of the New York State Legislature to impose a deadline for future mineral sampling and mining at Lot 8 in Lewis, a 200-acre portion of the NYS Forest Preserve’s Jay Mountain Wilderness.
The constitutional amendment allowing the mining company NYCO Minerals to collect mineral samples in advance of mining a portion of the Jay Mountain Wilderness, in exchange for land elsewhere, passed the NYS Legislature and was narrowly approved (53%-47%) by voters in 2013.
“No deadline for the mineral sampling or the mining was established by the voters, and no implementing legislation was ever approved in Albany,” a press release from Adirondack Wild said. “Adirondack Wild believes that a deadline should now be established after which the threat of future mining on this portion of the public’s Wilderness will end.”
In the five years since the amendment was approved, NYCO Minerals was sold to a French mining concern named Imerys and job stability and growth promised by advocates of the 2013 amendment has not materialized.
The new company, Imerys, has reduced employment and reduced union representation at the company, shipped some of its wollastonite business to its mine in Mexico, and brought in outside workers to operate its Essex County operations.
(You can read more about that here from Adirondack Explorer Editor Brandon Loomis.)
Mineral samples taken from a dozen sites in the Jay Mountain Wilderness in 2015 have never been presented to the State for appraisal purposes, as anticipated and required by the State Legislature for the mining and land swap to move forward.
“The company Imerys apparently has no intention of following through on the actions made possible by the 2013 constitutional amendment,” said Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson. “Therefore, we think it is in the public interest to ask the State Legislature to create by constitutional amendment a sunset date beyond which the mining threat is ended forever.”
The organization said it is proposing that in 2019 the State Legislature begin a process to amend Article XIV of the NYS Constitution, “to the effect that beyond a specific sunset date in 2020 or 2021 Imerys may not engage in mineral sampling and that beyond that same date the State may not convey Lot 8 to the mining company.”