July 14, 2014
A Tennessee prospector is hoping to mine gold at an abandoned site in Goochland County that, if successful, would be Virginia's only active gold mine.
William Kilgore of Bristol, Tenn., wants to re-mine the site of the Moss Mine near the Goochland-Fluvanna County line.
Kilgore also plans to clean up contamination from past mining operations as he goes. He notes that the project is only viable because he believes there is enough gold in the ground to pay for the cleanup and net him a profit.
"(I want to) take all that was inappropriately handled during the 1800s and 1900s and remove those footprints," he told the county's Board of Supervisors this month, just before the board granted him a conditional use permit. The main pollutant he would be likely to remove is mercury.
Kilgore, who took up prospecting after he retired from U.S. Tobacco, said he is looking for additional investors to help cover estimated startup costs of $2 million.
While the exact size of the mine pit has not been decided, it could be in the ballpark of 200 feet by 400 feet. The mine's maximum depth will be about 125 feet.
There's also a strong possibility of selling other minerals and gems found at the site, Kilgore said.
According to the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, gold was last mined in Virginia in 1947.