Plans for a huge gold mine near Kershaw have been delayed for at least a year because of the mine’s potential effect on creeks and wetlands that run through the site in Lancaster County.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will require Romarco Minerals Inc. to conduct an environmental impact statement before it decides on a wetlands permit for the sprawling project. The company had plans to begin pouring gold bars by 2013. The company the additional study is expected to delay plans by 12 months, Romarco says.
Romarco, a Canadian company, has said the operation will be the largest gold mine east of the Mississippi River. Company officials say they have already conducted thorough environmental studies, but officials said this week they will do the additional work.
The company has promised 800 jobs associated with the gold mine, but the mining operation would destroy as many as 162 acres of wetlands and more than 7 miles of streams – an environmental effect not often seen in South Carolina.
“We feel like the project has actual or potential significance in a number of areas,’’ the Corps’ Richard Darden said Tuesday. “The proposed effects to waters of the U.S., which in this case includes streams and wetlands, will be significant in terms of the acreage’’ and miles.