Six Nevada gold mines are worse mercury polluters than Jerritt Canyon?

Although articles about the now-shuttered Jerritt Canyon mine have said it was the worst mercury polluter in the United States, a more recent article says that 6 other Nevada gold mines pump out more mercury into the air, with Barrick Goldstrick mine (a huge series of pits) alone putting out 30 times as much as Jerritt Canyon.

Ninth Largest Source of Toxic Mercury Shuttered. What About Polluters 1 Through 8? By Dan Shapley. The Daily Green.

Photo1. Part of the Barrick Goldstrike mine north of Carlin, Nevada.

Photo2. More of the Barrick Goldstrike mine.

A lot of these Nevada mines let ranchers graze the nearby rangeland for free (after all they are going to become pits and they want to have good relations). Do you think these mercury cows are being tested before they enter the beef food supply?

Web page on mercury poisoning. Residents of Idaho, Utah and Nevada should read this, especially if they have children.






  1. kt Avatar

    Ralph – It’s even worse than that. Barrick Goldstrike has a very large public lands grazing permit that comprises hundreds of thousands of acres of BLM lands west of Tuscarora, and east of Midas. It is called the Squaw Valley allotment. Their Ranch Manager had been involved in the Mormon Church’s Deseret Ranch – where “holistic”-style garzing is practicied. That grzing was so holsitic that the sage-grouse just kept dying all the time from colliding with all the fneces they built for their “holistic” operaitn.

    But I digress. Yes, there are many likely mercury=contaminated public lands beef out there – not just those grazed under the Barrick permit – but under a lot of other foreign-owned gold mines as well -hold large permits in north-central Nevada.

    Plus, we can not forget the plus the lands in southern Idaho where the mercury rains done and contaminates lands and waters. These include, especially, the Brackett, Simplot and Otter family public lands ranching operations in the Jarbidge that are PRIME suspects for mercury contamination of beef. After all, Salmon Falls Reservoir was one of the first in Idaho where high levels of mercury were found …

  2. kt Avatar

    Sorry about all the typos. I was just riled up over the outrage of the poisoning of our land and water by these foreign gold mines. like Newmont, Barrick and all the rest. Plus the habitat destruction caused by the welfare cows grazed on our public lands on the permits they have bought up as they bought out ranches to have access to water rights and so ranchers wouldn’t squawk about all the surface waters drying up as aquifer drawdown associated with the deep cyanide heap leach mining operations occurs.

    Think about what is happening to Nevada right now— and the absurdity of continuing public lands grazing in the face of it all. The gold mines (and Simplot) own most of the grazing permits in the northeastern to north-central part of the state.

    To the south, SNWA – the Southern Nevada Water Authority now owns many, many permits – including not just cow but also the El Tejon sheep permits near Great Basin National Park that are responsible for bighorns dying off in the Park.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well you don’t sound too sanguine about the situation, KT.

    💡 Well, dilution solves pollution. So if there’s a bit too much quicksilver in the local beef, for example, mix it with all the clean hamburger. Things will work out.

    Oh, will my Brita filer take the mercury out of our eastern Idaho water supply; and selenium too? 😛

    Do you think our health insurance covers chelation therapy?

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Regarding KT’s comment above about the die-off of bighorn sheep in Nevada, the WWP blog just put up a story.

    Hay’s Canyon bighorn die-off shrouded in “mystery”


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan