Gold mines and prospects in Virginia

Gold mining in the Commonwealth of Virginia was a significant activity in the 1800s, with lode and placer operations concentrated in the gold-pyrite belt of the Piedmont Province. Mining of gold in Virginia decreased precipitously when the California Gold Rush began, with almost no production by the 1930s.  Learn more about gold in Virginia here»

For the past few years, a Canadian prospecting company has been conducting exploratory core sampling in Buckingham County, looking for gold. A permit for this activity is not required and it is unclear if commercially viable deposits will be found. Due to this recent interest in gold mining operations, HB2213 directs the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to establish a work group to study the mining of gold in the Commonwealth. View HB2213 here » The bill requires that the work group shall include the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and appropriate stakeholders, including experts in mining, hydrology, toxicology, and other fields; environmental organizations; representatives of potentially affected communities in localities with significant deposits of gold; and residents of Native American communities in such localities.

The bill provides that the work group shall evaluate the impacts of gold mining on public health, safety, and welfare; evaluate whether existing air and water quality regulations are sufficient to protect air and water quality from the mining and processing of gold, including evaluation of the impacts of different leaching and tailings management techniques on downstream communities; evaluate whether existing bonding, reclamation, closure, and long-term monitoring of sites for such mining or processing are sufficient; and report its findings to the General Assembly by December 1, 2022.

The work group will consist of two components:

  • A committee selected by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) to evaluate the technical aspects of impacts of gold mining in Virginia and
  • A committee formed by the Department of Energy, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Department of Health (“state agency committee”) that will focus on local equity and environmental justice issues, and environmental and human health concerns of the local community.

The NASEM committee’s final product will be an independent, peer-reviewed consensus report. This report will be delivered to the state agency committee, who will write a companion document that responds to, expands upon, or discusses specific topics in the NASEM consensus report. The NASEM consensus report and the document written by the state agency committee will comprise the “report” to which the bill refers.


To view the state agency committee’s statement of task, please click here.


The state agency committee of the workgroup is currently drafting its companion document. To view the latest version, please click here. This document will be revised as sections are added and discussed at public meetings. To comment on the draft report, please click here or email goldstudy@energy.virginia.gov.


If you are interested in providing public comment to the state agency component, please click here or e-mail goldstudy@energy.virginia.gov.

Upcoming Meetings


Additional meetings of the state agency component will be listed here as they are scheduled.

September 26th, 2022 :  9am-12pm,   Buckingham Community Center 16268 N James Madison Highway Dillwyn, VA 23936

Join from the meeting link
https://covaconf.webex.com/covaconf/j.php?MTID=m053738cf48e62faf8929e8ef2fa9ad88

Join by meeting number Meeting number (access code):
2428 473 0660

Meeting password:
VAEnergy1

Tap to join from a mobile device (attendees only):
+1-517-466-2023,,24284730660##US Toll
+1-866-692-4530,,24284730660## US Toll Free  

Past Meetings


December 15, 2021: The first meeting of the NAS component of the work group was held.

February 25, 2022: The first meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: 8EbDeGKa ) 

March 25, 2022: The second meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: VAEnergy1 ) 

April 22, 2022: The third meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: cMpyWJU4 ) 

May 16, 2022: The fourth meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: Xk7yfPpq ) 

June 23, 2022: The fifth meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: VmnrdGP6 ) 

August 3, 2022: The sixth meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: hG7PNiAq ) 

August 26, 2022: The seventh meeting of the state agency component was held. Watch Meeting here » (PASSWORD: HepTJ5tp ) 


 If you have any questions, please contact Michael Skiffington, Director of Policy and Planning, at 804.370.1833 or mike.skiffington@energy.virginia.gov.