Twin Pines Moves Forward with Plans for Charlton County Mining-to-Reclamation Project
Demonstration mine will provide proof of environmental responsibility
Since we last shared perspective on our plans in Charlton County, and in light of the fact we keep hearing the same allegations – with no supporting science – the following is offered for your consideration:
- We are moving forward with the permitting process and following the Georgia EPD’s requirements for approval to begin mining critical minerals such as titanium dioxide, of which the U.S. is the world’s largest importer. Our country lacks the capacity to produce titanium and other minerals in sufficient quantities and the federal government has declared them “essential to the economic and national security of the United States.”
- In recent months, we scaled back the operational footprint significantly to 577.4 acres on which we will conduct a demonstration mining-to-reclamation project to prove conclusively that our plans are sound and fully protective of the Okefenokee Swamp and surrounding environs. Of significant note, the mining footprint contains no jurisdictional wetlands, meaning U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits are not required or applicable.Unfortunately, the Corps has been accused of abandoning their oversight responsibilities when the reality is, there is nothing in our current plans over which they have jurisdiction to abandon.
- There is no risk to water levels in the Okefenokee because we will NOT be mining “adjacent to the swamp,” an untrue but often-repeated allegation.Let us make this very clear; our footprint is more than 2.9 miles away from, and at elevations higher than, the swamp. At our maximum excavation depth of 50 feet, the bottom of the mining pit will still be above the Okefenokee. So, unless water can defy gravity and flow uphill, the assertion our operations will “drain the swamp” is wrong. Our geologic and hydrogeologic modeling confirms this point and was validated in an EPA communication with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Highly advanced mining-to-reclamation is protective of the environment
By definition, the methods we employ fall under the very broad category of strip mining, a term used by some to conjure images of vast deep, open, abandoned pits. That is not what this is.
We will utilize a dragline excavator to dig, and a conveyor system to transport materials to an onsite processing plant and return soils to the pit for backfilling. This process is an environmentally responsible approach versus old school “wet mining,” which is much more invasive. The dragline process requires a very small footprint (1.5 to 2.5 acres) at any given time with soil replacement occurring simultaneously.
Further, we will use mining equipment powered by electricity – not emission-producing diesel or gasoline engines.
Leaving the land better than we found it
Our project will feature more than simple soil replacement … it is all about reclamation and restoration. Let’s not overlook the fact this tract was part of an area that was used in commercial foresting for more than a century. The timber industry’s practices included herbicide use and bedding activities that promoted rapid tree growth, year after year, altering soil composition and surface contours. We will reclaim the land by planting original, indigenous plant species to replace the non-native scrub that presently fills the landscape … returning the property to its true natural state.
Following completion of all mining activities, the structures, equipment and materials associated with the project will be permanently removed. All erosion controls will remain in place until adequate vegetative cover has been established.
The project has the potential to be a $300 million investment in Charlton County that could provide approximately 400 direct, good-paying jobs (typically $60,000 annually, with benefits) and more than double the county’s tax digest.
A question for opponents
From a business perspective, anything less than complete success in protecting the swamp, area waterways and the environment would subject us to regulatory action and shut down.
Does anyone really believe a company would put such a massive investment at risk by failing to comply with environmental regulations? We wouldn’t and look forward to the day when the environmental responsibility of our mining is proven and acknowledged as an incontrovertible truth.