According to the Vermont Geological Survey, the following products are found in Vermont: granite, marble, slate, talc, verde antique, soapstone, schist, sand and gravel, as well as crushed limestone, marble, dolomite, granite, quartzite, and slate. As of 2000, there were 42 fully operational mines in the state of Vermont, and 142 listed as intermittent. The estimated non-fuel mineral production for Vermont in 2003 was $73 million. This was a 3% increase over 2002 and $20 million more than the total production in 1993. In 2003, Vermont ranked 4th in the United States in dimension stone production by tonnage, and in 2001 the state ranked third nationally in production of granite, second in production of marble and first in production of slate (USGS Mineral Industry Surveys, Dimension Stone, 2001).
The purpose of this website is to expose the reader to some of the mining practices in Vermont. The website concentrates on five types of mining: asbestos, copper, granite, marble, and slate. The first three, granite, marble, and slate, continue to be processed today, while the latter two, asbestos and copper, are no longer in production. All five, however, are good examples of how mining changes Vermont landscapes and the people that live on them.
In reviewing these pages, it is especially important to understand the environmental and social implications of mining. Regardless of the locale, mining may result in the following problems (Miller, 2004):
- An increase in noise, dust, and air pollution
- An increase in surface and groundwater pollution
- Concerns over how to store and dispose of waste
- An increase in stormwater runoff, erosion and sedimentation
- A decline in landscape utility for future use
- An increase in truck traffic which may lead to a decrease in highway safety and an increase in municipal highway spending
- A decrease in aesthetic appeal and a reduction in property values
In the 1970s, Vermont passed Act 250 in an attempt to minimize environmental degradation and plan for the extraction and development of its natural resources. In terms of Vermont’s earth extraction industries, Act 250 grants permits to applicants demonstrating that none of the following, extraction, processing, or disposal, will have an adverse affect on the environment and surrounding lands. It also ensures that the development or subdivision of land will not interfere with or prevent the extraction of significant mineral deposits or earth resources.
Despite this safeguard, mining industries, municipalities, and citizens sometimes disagree over the economic, cultural, and environmental benefits/costs of mining. It is our hope that this website will help cast some light on not only the environmental impacts of mining in Vermont, but the history, geology, and culture as well.
Miller, M. 2004. Conducting Natural Resource Inventories in Vermont: A Case Study of the Town of Belvidere, Vermont. Thesis Project, University of Vermont.