For The Record

Okefenokee mining proposal gets Folkston hearing Tuesday night

By: - August 13, 2019 7:30 am

The Georgia Recorder will report from South Georgia this week on reactions from the community, environmental groups and mining company officials on plans to extract materials for titanium manufacturing near the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

The first of two public meetings this week is set for Tuesday night in southeast Georgia when Twin Pines Minerals will detail plans to mine roughly 2,400 acres in the first phase of a 12,000 acre project. The proposal is drawing some comparisons to a larger mining plan from 20 years ago that was nixed after public outrage. 

Two wood stork chicks. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region.

Some environmental agencies are raising concerns about the substantial ecological harm that Twin Pines’ mining might cause so close to the Okefenokee.  

The first meeting, hosted by Twin Pines and the Charlton County Commission, is set to take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the county’s government building at 68 Kingsland Drive in Folkston.

Another meeting is scheduled during the same hours on Wednesday in St. George at 13063 Florida Ave.

The U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers Savannah district will ultimately decide if Twin Pines’ permit is approved. The public can submit comments to the agency by email through Sept. 12 at [email protected]

Twin Pines wants to strip-mine titanium near the wetlands located by the Georgia-Florida border. The refuge is home to more than 600 plant species as well as rare animals like indigo snakes, gopher tortoises and wood storks. 

The Okefenokee Swamp is also the headwater to the St. Marys River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Suwannee River that lets out in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.