While the permitted mining area consists of approximately 1,456 acres, only 898 acres will be mined in phases of roughly 25-40 acres per month. The area in which mining actually occurs will range from only 1.5 to 2.5 acres and the land excavated will be backfilled, graded and covered with topsoil and seeds/seedlings (depending on the time of year) within 20 days following excavation. The depth of the mine will vary based on the mineral availability in each area and will average 50 feet (roughly the length of three standard pick-up trucks).
Twin Pines Minerals, LLC has developed a mineral sand mining technique utilizing a dragline excavator to dig into the earth, and a conveyor system to transport materials to an onsite processing plant and return soils to the site for backfilling. This process is a cleaner and much more environmentally friendly approach versus the standard “wet mining” technique, which uses a dredge and floating concentrator.
The dragline method uses a large, crane-like, earthmoving machine with a bucket to scoop the material. The bucket operates from cables at the end of a boom to move the raw material from the excavation site to a nearby holding area before being placed on the aforementioned conveyor system.
Additionally, ponds, consisting predominately of rainwater, will be constructed adjacent to the processing plant to create an efficient method for process water reuse and recirculation.