— The closure of a $2.6 billion gold mine in Kingston, Massachusetts, by a mine owner, after nearly a year of protests, has been a wrenching reminder of the deep divisions and mistrust that have defined American politics for decades.
The mine owner told workers at a protest on Tuesday that he will close the mine if they don’t vote to reopen it by Christmas.
“I can’t do this anymore,” James Feltman, owner of the Kingsport gold mine, told workers in the town of Kingston, Mass., according to local media.
“If you don’t come out on December 4, we will shut down the mine.”
Workers have been protesting the mine closure since April.
In a video posted on social media, the workers, many wearing black, are seen walking down the street chanting, “No money, no peace,” and holding up signs that read “Stop the mine,” “No one to blame” and “Justice for the miners.”
The miners, who were paid $10 a day, are demanding an end to the closure, and an end of the “dirty, brutal” work at the mine.
At least two workers were injured at the protest, according to the Kingston Gazette-Dispatch.
Feltman has not yet responded to CBS News’ request for comment on the incident.
The union representing workers in Kingston has called for a “people’s boycott” of the mine, which is located in the heart of the mining town.
Some residents, who are part of a community group called the Kingston Citizens Against Mine Closure, have said they plan to walk out on the town’s streets on Dec. 4 to demonstrate.
This is not a situation that has ever happened in Kingston before, the group said on Facebook.
On Tuesday, workers also walked out on another nearby mine.
In that case, the company shut down its operations after a monthlong campaign by residents to hold it accountable for the mine’s safety.
Karen Schmitt, the executive director of the Kingston Mining and Exploration Workers Union, said that the mine owner should be held accountable for its actions.
“We need to be held responsible for the safety and health of the workers,” she said.
“There should be an immediate and immediate investigation of the safety of workers and a full recall of the company’s assets.”
According to a news release from the Kingston Mine Owners Association, workers will be paid $11.50 an hour for the first three weeks of December.
Worker groups, including the Kingston Coalition for Mine Safety and the Kingston Area Chamber of Commerce, have been calling for an end as well.