The Truth About Titanium: A Vital Resource

Mineral is an essential component in thousands of applications and important for national security

For more than two years opponents of our proposed mining project have made one unsubstantiated claim after another about what they allege will happen if we receive permits to move forward with our mining-to-reclamation project on Trail Ridge. We will continue to refute the lies and distortions, provide needed perspective and let the people of Charlton County decide the merits of our plans for themselves.

Today, let’s look at one of the oft-repeated half-truths opponents spread about titanium, the primary rare-earth mineral we plan to extract from Trail Ridge. Opponents would have you believe it is nothing more than a pigment used in paint and toothpaste.

Well, yes, it is a pigment used for those purposes (and a very effective one), but that statement is a deliberate attempt to obscure the thousands of other beneficial uses of titanium. A very small sampling includes:

  • Medical devices including surgical room instruments, electronics, prosthetics, implants, pacemakers, wheelchairs and crutches
  • Military and commercial aircraft
  • Spaceships and rockets
  • Nuclear submarines
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Wind turbines
  • Smart phones and computers
  • Sporting goods
  • Jewelry
  • Sunscreen

… and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Titanium is recyclable, as strong as steel but lighter weight, it doesn’t rust and is a key in the evolution of all-electric vehicles, a Holy Grail of green transportation. Encouraged by President Biden who calls for legislation to improve auto fuel economy standards and tailpipe emissions, automakers are clearly moving away from internal combustion engines. Vehicle weight reductions achieved with titanium can help increase battery life and extend vehicle range, issues that cause hesitancy among some prospective buyers.

Auto industry labs are also looking at titanium as a component of power cells because it isn’t as heat sensitive as lithium batteries that have potential to overheat and even catch fire in extreme circumstances.

We could fill every page of this newspaper with the beneficial uses of titanium, but the companion point is its importance to national security. The Trump administration declared it as such in large part because 80% of the world’s rare earth minerals are produced in China and officials in Beijing have reportedly studied the impact of cutting supplies to the West.

The cynical viewpoint here would be that opponents of our project dismiss the national security importance of titanium for no other reason than Donald Trump supported reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources.

Here’s one point that can’t be dismissed; we’re hearing from people in Charlton County every day that need good jobs and want to know when we will begin hiring. They’re ready to start work now. So are we … and we will, if the state grants us permits to proceed with the demonstration mine that will prove once and for all that our advanced surface mining techniques will not harm the Okefenokee or surrounding environs in any way.

We’re looking forward to working with our friends in the community and helping Charlton County enjoy a prosperous future.