The proposed location of this silica mine is the cause for most controversy. NexGen Silica would like to start mining sandstone along the side of Highway 32 across from 144 (Hawn State Park Road).
This location is above one of Missouri's most delicate water aquifers, St. Francois Mountain Plateau Aquifer. The hydrology of this area is reason alone to reassess the prosed mine site location.
This location is within a quarter mile of multiple occupied homes and farms, many residents are directly across the road from the proposed mine site. Most of these local home owners fear for there safety as this mine threatens there health and way of life.
This location is in very close proximity to many natural areas that will be affected by water and air impacts and light and noise pollution. 1,117 feet to Horton Conservation Area, 1.37 miles to Hickory Cannons Natural Area, 2.1 miles to Hawn State Park, 4.2 miles to Pickle Springs Natural Area.
This location is off of a winding two lane highway with multiple driveways within every mile. Highway 32 has very limited sight lines and the heavy truck traffic to haul sand from the mine will surely impact the number of accidents along the route.
Potential Water Contamination and Harm to the Water Supply
The proposed location of this silica mine is atop the St. Francois Mountain Plateau Aquifer. This aquifer includes
parts of Iron, Madison, Reynolds, Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Washington, and Wayne counties. The proposed mine site would tap into this delicate resource that is used to supply water to surrounding wells in all of these counties.
According to DNR's website, water in this province is at greater risk of contamination than other aquifers in the state of Missouri. The website also notes that potential pollution sources to this water province should be monitored or removed. Landowners in this area rely on this aquifer for their wells. Hawn State Park and the surrounding conservation areas are connected to this watershed. The mine would drill through this water table and impact countless residents and tourists to the area.
Silica dust is released into the air during sand mining, processing, and transport. According to cancer.org, crystalline silica dust exposure can lead to silicosis, cancer, kidney disease, COPD, and pulmonary disease. According to the CDC, long-term exposure can result in chronic silicosis which can appear up to 10 years after exposure. OSHA has safety training, limitations, and PPE requirements for those who are exposed to this dust at work. Homeowners wonder how their children will be affected as they grow up near this toxic dust. Farmers wonder how this dust will affect their crops and livestock.
This type of mining has been shown to be a "boom and bust" industry. It may bring up to 30 unstable jobs to the area for a brief period of time, but those jobs will likely come and go as quickly as the price of oil. All home values in the area, along the truck route, and along the rail line will depreciate. This could result in a loss of tax revenue for the town. This will also impact the tourism in Haw State Park, the conservation areas and Ste. Genevieve as a national historical park.
Quality of Life
Residents' lives will be significantly impacted by this mine. People wonder if this will be a 24/7 operation. The noise and light pollution alone will ruin the way of life that the people of this area have known and cherished for generations. This is a community that holds strong traditional values built upon their families, farms, and homes. Neighbors should come first, not a newly formed company with out-of-town influence.
For more information please view the video of our informational meeting from April 30th Here.