800 jobs put on hold at Lancaster Gold Mine

Published: Jul. 6, 2011 at 10:05 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2011 at 10:12 PM EDT
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KERSHAW, SC (WBTV) - All that glitters, isn't gold for thousands of people hoping to land a job at Haile Gold mine.

Tim Plyler lost his job three weeks ago. When he was handed his pink slip he says he knew where to look for a new job.

"It was two weeks ago I filled out an application for Haile Gold Mine," said Plyler.

It's the gold rush of jobs folks in Lancaster County are looking for.

Romarco Minerals the company that owns the Haile Gold Mine was set to start hiring the first of 800 people next month and start digging for the gold  but a few days ago ran into a snag.

"The army Corps of Engineers has decided the most efficient way to move this process forward is to do an environmental impact statement," said Dianne Garrett, CEO of Romarco Minerals

Garrett says the EIS will take up to a year to complete but could have been much longer.

"For us we're way ahead of where most companies start at the stage of an EIS so we're hoping it's not going to take 12 months," said Garrett.

Soil samples will be taken, and water quality will be checked.

"We've submitted over 20 thousand pages of data, studies," said Garrett "The beauty of hail is we know the water quality was like last week, six months ago and 10 years ago because we've been monitoring all the environmental work since we came onto the property 4 years ago."

Haile has various forms of wetlands on the nearly 2,000 acre property.  Some of the creeks and streams will be destroyed once digging of a mile wide quarry begins.

Garrett says at the end of mining years from now the wetlands will be in far better shape than when they found them.

"We'll be able to create wetlands on this property when we leave," said Garrett. "We will not only be preserving and restoring that have been significantly impaired by 200 years of mining but we'll create wetlands when we close the mine and re-contour the property."

Romarco estimates the Haile mine life to be 13 to 20 years once digging for gold begins.  As exploration for gold deposits continue that time frame could increase.

Romarco now plans to start pouring its first gold bars at Haile in 20-14

Although Plyler would have liked to have gotten  at job at Haile, he's not waiting around for a job there.

"No, no, no I'm going to find something as soon as I can. I'm not going wait on Haile Gold Mine to put food on my table I've got to do what I've got to do," said Plyler.

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