Groundwater modeling of Charlton County mining project shows Okefenokee Swamp will be protected
Study provided to state and federal agencies to address permit application requirements
Folkston, Ga. (February 4, 2020) – Twin Pines Minerals, an industry leading minerals and mining company, today announced the results of geologic and hydrogeologic studies to determine the viability of its plan to mine titanium and zirconium from the layers of sand and soil on its Charlton County property.
In advance of the initiative, the company is spending millions to ensure its investment in the project is sound, which it can only be if the Okefenokee Swamp, adjoining streams and environs are protected and mining work complies with all federal and state regulations.
Toward that objective, top scientific experts have completed comprehensive studies to confirm the viability of Twin Pines’ plans. One such expert is Dr. Robert Holt, nationally recognized hydrologist and professor of geology and geological engineering at the University of Mississippi. He recently completed a set of groundwater models that showed the proposed mine area is conducive to Twin Pines’ innovative dragline mining plan and will meet the strictest environmental regulations.
Holt’s findings were submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. His extensive study – conducted over more than a year – shows conclusively “that the proposed mining activities will have negligible impact on the hydrologic system of Trail Ridge and the Okefenokee Swamp.”
“I am elated that the study has confirmed the viability of our project,” said Steve Ingle, president of Twin Pines Minerals. “Protecting the swamp and the region’s environment is of paramount importance to us, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because failing to meet the strictest state and federal standards could result in regulatory action that would jeopardize a $300 million investment.”
Presentations on the Twin Pines research shared at two institutions
During the latter stages of the study, Holt shared his research and methodology with peers at the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, two of the Deep South’s most respected geologic research institutions. In both instances, his results were well received by contemporaries who engaged in discussions about the technical points of his findings. The audience at the University of Georgia posed thoughtful questions about the modeling and the project’s planned water use.
Even before the modeling was completed, the initial findings were very encouraging with regard to impact on groundwater or surface water movement and the final study confirmed that fact. Holt said the data show the proposed mining footprint is a sufficient distance from, and at a higher elevation than, the swamp, such that it will not impact the refuge or area streams. The research also indicates the project’s water withdrawal will not harm the Surficial Aquifer.
“I haven’t seen any technical claims against the mine that are fact-based,” Holt stated. “I’ve seen the emotional responses and arguments that Twin Pines is planning to use technology and mining approaches that are 25 years old, which is simply not the case.
“In fact, if there is a valid technical argument that reveals real problems, it is my duty to inform the company and recommend they find solutions or halt the project. Twin Pines’ leadership understands the importance of knowing about, and addressing, any adverse impacts prior to mining, and this study is a major step in that direction,” Holt concluded.
The full 91 page report is available on the Environmental Studies section of Twin Pines web site.